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After Haryana & Maha, It's Sonia's Loyalists vs Team Rahul in Karnataka as Poll Debacle Fuels Rebellion

After the collapse of the JDS-Congress coalition government and the humiliating defeat in the recent Lok Sabha elections, the rebellion against the state leadership has begun in full scale.

D P Satish | News18dp_satish

Updated:October 7, 2019, 4:02 PM IST
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After Haryana & Maha, It's Sonia's Loyalists vs Team Rahul in Karnataka as Poll Debacle Fuels Rebellion
News18 Creative by Mir Suhail.

Bengaluru: After Haryana, Maharashtra, Tripura and Jharkhand, it is now the turn of Karnataka Congress to deal with an internal rebellion. The main opposition party in the state, which was in alliance with the Janata Dal Secular (JDS) three months ago, is witnessing an open fight among several of its top leaders.

On Sunday, senior Congress leaders from Karnataka — BK Hariprasad and KH Muniyappa — led a protest outside the KPCC office in Bengaluru, demanding a change in leadership and accountability.

Their target was former chief minister Siddaramaiah and KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao whom they call ineffective. A few days before the protest, these leaders had almost come to blows at an internal meeting of the party.

After the collapse of the JDS-Congress coalition government and the humiliating defeat in the recent Lok Sabha elections, the rebellion against the state leadership has begun in full scale.

Those who are leading the protest want to see the back of both Siddaramaiah and Rao, claiming that they are functioning like factional leaders unable to take everyone along.

Seven-time MP and former Union minister KH Muniyappa, who lost the recent Lok Sabha elections from his bastion Kolar, feels that Siddaramaiah has failed and should step down from the post of Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader, making way for someone acceptable to most.

“Siddaramaiah has different rules for different people. He dismissed the MLAs who defected during trust vote but he is backing former Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar who has openly worked against me in Lok Sabha elections. What kind of justice is this? I want him to clarify,” he said.

Former AICC general secretary and MP BK Hariprasad has directed his guns at Rao. He wants the high command to replace Rao with someone from the other camp. Insiders claim that Hariprasad has a personal grudge and is using the current chaos to settle scores. Rao is at present holidaying abroad and was not available for comments.

Veteran leader M Mallikarjuna Kharge, who also lost the election, is trying to make a re-entry into state politics. According to party sources, he is also unhappy with Siddaramaiah. Former deputy chief minister Dr G Parameshwara is staying away from party meetings in protest against his voice not being heard by the high command. He is once again eyeing the KPCC president’s job.

Siddaramaiah, meanwhile, is not in the mood to quit quietly and is still trying to secure the leader of the opposition post for himself. Reportedly, majority of the MLAs are backing him. Rao is being seen as his man and the rebel camp wants at least the KPCC president’s post for itself. They are floating the names of Kharge, MB Patil and even jailed DK Shivakumar for the same.

According to political analysts, it is a fight between the followers of Rahul Gandhi and those of Sonia Gandhi. The sudden exit of Rahul Gandhi and return of Sonia Gandhi at the helm has emboldened the hitherto neglected Sonia loyalists. They are now trying their best to capture the party leadership by ousting the current ones.

The bigger question that no one wants to answer though is the future of the party and concerns of the cadre.

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