Congress men pitch for non-adversarial, strong KPCC chief

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Bengaluru: With less than a year left for Assembly elections, there is a growing demand within the Congress to have a strong but non-adversarial president for the Karnataka unit of the party.

The Congress has already made it clear that it would face the Assembly elections next year under the leadership of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah but there is buzz about a change of guard in the party’s state unit.

At a recent review meeting after AICC General Secretary K C Venugopal’s visit to Karnataka, a common complaint of the party workers was that of “invisible ministers”. “Very few district in-charge ministers’ tour regions assigned to them. This is a worrying trend,” a senior leader said.

Congress leaders believe that the recent victories in the twin Assembly byelections — Nanjangud and Gundlupet — were a clear indication that the people of the state still have faith in the government.

“All we need to do is encourage the workers and gear them up for elections. Only a strong leader who can make the errant ministers work for the organisation will be of any help,” the leader said, referring to discussions within the party.

Also, there is a view in the Congress on having a state unit president who is non-adversarial to the chief minister. Incumbent PCC chief and Home Minister G Parameshwara has had frequent run-ins with the chief minister, who is still viewed as an “outsider” by some Congress leaders.

While Parameshwara is keen on continuing in the post till the elections next year, the names of D K Shivakumar, M B Patil and S R Patil are doing the rounds as his possible successors.

In his interaction with party leaders in Karnataka, Venugopal had assured them that the confusion over the PCC chief would be cleared this month itself.

The Congress leadership has set in motion the process of organisational revamp by appointing new AICC general secretaries in election-bound states. New PCC chiefs have also been announced for Punjab and Uttarakhand. More changes, particularly in election-going states, are expected to be announced later this month.

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