The Congress high command is believed to have advised Siddaramaiah to avoid stirring up controversies regarding the stability of the coalition government in Karnataka.

How Congresss weak national image makes it unlikely to leave Karnatakas coalition govt
news Politics Thursday, June 20, 2019 - 17:33

For the last two days, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has been cooped up with Congress party leaders in New Delhi with a single-minded goal – to convince them that the coalition with the JD(S) is hurting the party more than it could benefit it.

Siddaramaiah has a herculean task cut out for him as the high command is averse to the idea of withdrawing support from the coalition government in Karnataka, All India Congress Committee sources say.

The AICC on Wednesday had dissolved the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee while retaining the KPCC President and working President. On the heels of such a historic decision, party insiders say, is another parallel outcome that could destroy Siddaramaiah’s reputation.

“The AICC wants to hold him accountable for the failures in Karnataka. It is very likely that he will be removed as chief of the coalition coordination committee. Siddaramaiah has had to put up with the embarrassment of seeing his arch rival – Kumaraswamy, become the CM. If he is removed as the committee chief, then it would be seen as the high command taking away his powers. He does not want that,” the AICC functionary said.

Congress sources say that the high command in New Delhi wants to maintain stability in Karnataka until the KPCC President Dinesh Gundu Rao stitches the party’s state unit up from scratch. The party’s state president has a tough task cut out for him and setting up a new KPCC unit and getting it up and running is likely to take at least another year.

“When such a huge task is ahead of the party, the national leaders do not want to withdraw support from the coalition. Siddaramaiah was given a free rein to make decisions during the 2018 Assembly and the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections. Besides a few leaders in Siddaramaiah’s faction, none of the MLAs want to dissolve the government and go for re-election. The party is not prepared for it,” the source said.

The high command is believed to have advised Siddaramaiah to avoid stirring up controversies regarding the stability of the coalition government until a new KPCC is steady enough to function efficiently. Besides, the party leaders say that turmoil in Karnataka would be disastrous for the party in the upcoming Assembly elections in Maharashtra scheduled to be held in November.

“Siddaramaiah wants to become the Chief Minister. This is a personal issue for him. He is not looking at what the party needs at the moment. If support is withdrawn, our MLAs are apprehensive about going to BJP because they know their careers will be sidelined. The BJP wants to go for re-election and we are in no position to fight one now,” the source added.

On Wednesday, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy met former Kalaburgi MP and veteran Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge soon after learning about Siddaramaiah’s agenda to withdraw support from the coalition. Sources close to Kharge say that he reassured the Chief Minister that such an agenda would not be approved by the high command.

“Siddaramaiah will never openly rebel against the high command. His supporters will definitely stir up dissent and call for the dissolution of the government but even they know that jumping ship to BJP is not an option, as Yeddyurappa will sideline them once they resign from their MLA posts. The BJP is also not amenable to give them tickets to contest elections in case of snap polls,” the source added.


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