Congress MLA Dinesh Gundu Rao has been named the new president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee on Wednesday. This has put an end to weeks of speculation surrounding the post.
Several Congress leaders were speculated to get the post including HK Patil, MB Patil and Eshwar Khandre but in a press release, Congress National Secretary Ashok Gehlot confirmed that Dinesh will be the new KPCC President.
He takes over from outgoing KPCC President G Parameshwara who will be vacating the position after eight years in charge. Parameshwara was named Deputy Chief Minister in the JDS-Congress coalition government formed in the state in May.
Dinesh was kept out of the cabinet when the coalition government was formed. Notably, he did not air his displeasure about the decision to not award him the post of a minister.
Dinesh Gundu Rao's promotion from the position of working president to president was quite an easy decision for the party given his proximity to former CM Siddaramaiah and his personal organisational capabilities. Many feel this is the High Commandâ€™s balancing act intended to keep both power centres within the party happy.
This also puts an end to speculations that Water Resources Minister and Congressâ€™ troubleshooter-in-chief and DK Shivakumar will be assuaged by giving him the post of KPCC president after he lost out on the Deputy CMâ€™s post.
Dinesh Gundu Rao is the son of former Karnataka CM R Gundu Rao. Dinesh is a five-time MLA of Gandhinagar constituency in Bengaluru. He was a national spokesperson for the All-India Congress Committee and was also sworn in as KPCC Working President in 2016, a post he will now vacate. Former Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Municipalities and Local Bodies Eshwar Khandre was confirmed as the KPCC Working President replacing Dinesh.
Several leaders reportedly lobbied for the post but the decision to elevate Dinesh was taken by the Congress High Command with a view of utilising Dinesh's organisational skills for the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections.
The reshuffle in the Congress hierarchy comes as the party is gearing up for the all-important elections in which it could be putting up a united fight along with the JD(S) in the state.
Dinesh is the son of former Karnataka Chief Minister R Gundu Rao. He was previously Minister of State for Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer affairs.