The All India Congress Committee on Wednesday dissolved the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC). The AICC has decided to disband all structures within the KPCC including the district and block Congress committees. The move comes weeks after the drubbing in the Lok Sabha Election, where the ruling JD(S)-Congress combine managed to win only one constituency each out of the 28 seats in the state.
AICC General Secretary KC Venugopal on Wednesday issued a press statement stating the same. â€śThe AICC has decided to dissolve the present committee of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee. The President and Working President [Dinesh Gundu Rao and Eshwar Khandre] remain unchanged," the press statement said.
Speaking to TNM, KPCC President Dinesh Gundu Rao said, "Congress President gave approval. Now we have to reorganise the party at district and block levels also. It is going to be a total revamp of the party at all levels."
Sources in the Congress reveal that the blunders made by the existing heads of various committees in Karnataka and the growing failures of state leaders, has led the AICC to make this decision. The decision is seen as a move to clean up disorganised party structures and rooting out non-performers to bring in a new team.
Speaking to TNM, a Congress functionary says that in the heels of the massive set back in the Lok Sabha Elections, the leaders in New Delhi decided to clean up the party and restructure it, and Karnataka is where they plan to start.
The non-performing seniors
The last three to four years of the Karnataka Congress has witnessed the party spiral down due to a multitude of reasons including strategies going awry; senior leaders clinging on to power, unwilling to allow those capable a chance to prove themselves; and most importantly the factionalism, which has left a gaping hole in the partyâ€™s unity.
Congress insiders say that the move to dissolve the KPCC is seen as the high commandâ€™s decision to warn senior leaders and their loyalists that infighting and lack of unity would inadvertently have consequences.
â€śFor over 10 years, most of the District Congress Committee (DCC) presidents and the members of these district committees have been those who support Dr G Parameshwara. They have been around the block since he was the KPCC President. The national leaders wanted to change them ahead of the Assembly and Lok Sabha Elections but Parameshwara convinced the high command not to do so. They did not deliver in the key constituencies, where Congress could have won easily. This decision is a way to tell Parameshwara that he must concentrate on being the Deputy CM and forget about managing party affairs,â€ť a Congress functionary said.
Clipping Siddaramaiahâ€™s wings
Known as a strategist and a mass leader, Siddaramaiah, who was always looked upon as an outsider due to his previous role in the JD(S), was accepted by several key figures in the Congress after he became the Chief Minister.
However, his detractors were a constant reminder that he could easily be overpowered if he did not keep his cards close and more importantly, a tight grip over the workings of both the party and the government.
â€śSiddaramaiah began making a series of bad decisions. The first was alienating the huge Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Kodava and other communities in Karnataka when he started the Kannada pride movement,â€ť a Congress leader alleged.
Although it was not such a big blunder, the second was the separate Lingayat religion movement, which drove a deep wedge, enough to bring down the partyâ€™s credibility in the northern and central parts of Karnataka. The third big mistake, sources say, are the digs he took at former Prime Minister and JD(S) patriarch Deve Gowda during the 2018 Assembly Elections, which lowered the partyâ€™s image in the eyes of the Vokkaliga community.
â€śWhen he became the CM, many leaders had advised the high command that Parameshwara must become Deputy CM and DK Shivakumar must be named the KPCC President. Siddaramaiah did not allow that to happen. Over the years, especially during the Assembly Elections in 2018, he began making bad decisions one after another and he was never held accountable,â€ť the source alleged.
The last straw, a senior Congress leader says, was when Siddaramaiah began controlling the appointments in the KPCC whilst favouring only those from the Kuruba community. â€śFrom an Ahinda leader, he became a Kuruba leader. Communities that felt alienated moved to the BJP but Siddaramaiah refused to change his stance,â€ť the source alleged.
Congress insiders say that the national leaders are now driven to hold Siddaramaiah accountable for his actions and ensure that the decisions he makes henceforth are for the benefit of the party and not for personal gains or for the benefit of his followers.
Sources indicated that in the coming days, Siddaramaiah may be removed from the post of the Chairman of Coalition Co-ordination Committee.