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Siddaramaiah wants his man for KPCC President

Posted April 21st, 2017, 10:16 AM IST

Siddaramaiah wants his man for KPCC President

Bengaluru: After the victory in the Nanjangud and Gundlupet by elections, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah seems to have started asserting himself by indirectly putting pressure on the Congress high command to accede to his demands.

Though AICC General Secretary and in-charge for Karnataka, Digvijay Singh had said there was no vacancy for the post of PCC president indicating that the incumbent president Dr G Parameshwar would continue till October, Mr Siddaramaiah is learnt to be lobbying with the high command to replace Dr Parameshwar with MLC and former IT/BT Minister, S.R. Patil, a known Lingayat face in the Congress. From the beginning, the CM had been batting for Mr Patil, a soft spoken leader who is loyal to him.

The CM is leaving for Delhi Saturday night to attend a meeting convened by Niti Aayog on April 23. After the meeting, he is expected to meet party national leaders to put forth his demand to make Mr Patil PCC president.

The attitude of Mr Siddaramaiah had changed a lot after the bypoll win. He has not only upped his demands but even claims he would be the next chief minister as the party is fully confident of coming back to power in 2018.

The CM had remained silent on who would lead the party in 2018 polls and maintained that the high command would pick the leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP). But two days ago, he announced that he would be the next CM, a move which has not gone down well with some leaders.

In fact, Dr Parameshwar always styled himself as a strong contender for the CM Gaddi as he missed the bus after losing in the 2013 Assembly polls. Several state leaders are indirectly backing Dr Parameshwar, considering his seniority and the fact that he fulfils the demand to make a dalit the next CM.

Why SR Patil? One reason is that Siddaramaiah wants a PCC president who listens to him. Since Dr G. Parameshwar and Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar don’t fall in that category, the CM is interested to have Mr Patil in the hot seat so that he can have more say in the selection of candidates and distribution of tickets. Having realised this, Dr Parameshwar is reportedly using the good offices of Congress floor leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge to impress upon AICC leaders the need for him to continue at least till 2018 polls. Mr Kharge and Dr Parameshwar held a meeting at the former's house to discuss recent developments and thee bypoll results. Except seniors like B. Janardhan Poojary and M.V. Rajashekaran, no other leader is backing Dr Parameshwar in his endeavor to become the next CM. This has given rise to the feeling that the rift between Mr Siddaramaiah and Dr Parameshwar is worsening and their relationship might turn sour in the coming months.

Old Congmen Kharge, Dr G Parameshwar meet, tussle over PCC looms
This is one meeting which has raised eyebrows in Congress circles coming soon after the bypoll victory.

Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge held a closed-door meeting with KPCC president Dr G. Parameshwar at the former’s residence with the issues which were discussed remaining a secret.

However, sources in the party said that the meeting assumes significance in the wake of AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh overruling Dr Parameshwar’s statement that the next election would be fought under a collective leadership.

Mr Singh had clearly stated in Hubballi that the 2018 election would be fought under Siddaramaiah’s leadership.

Two, while speaking at a function, Mr Siddaramaiah emphatically said he would be the Chief Minister after 2018. This might have certainly upset original Congressmen including Mr Kharge and Dr Parameshwar, sources said.