The Karnataka Congress is in the process of appointing the Karnataka Pradesh Youth Congress Committee, and among the frontrunners are Jayanagar MLA Sowmya Reddy, and Shantinagar MLA's son Mohammed Haris Nalapad, who was accused of attempted murder of the son of businessman Loganathan at a cafe in Bengaluru. Along with these two candidates is the President of the National Students Union of India's Karnataka chapter, Manjunath.
Sources in the Congress said that Sowmya Reddy is going to be Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President DK Shivakumar's pick for various strategic reasons- Sowmya's rising popularity and her father and senior leader Ramalinga Reddy's influence in the Bengaluru region.
Congress insiders said that when the rebellion erupted in the Karnataka Congress in May 2019, Ramalinga Reddy, had made it clear during a meeting with DK Shivakumar, that for him to remain loyal to the Congress, the party has to back him too.
When the kerfuffle had begun in the Congress, Shivakumar was mired in the scandal due to the Income Tax raids, in which he was accused of misappropriating crores of rupees. He was also in talks with the high command for becoming the next President of the KPCC. "Shivakumar is interested to appoint Sowmya Reddy as the President of the party's Yuva Morcha. This would give her a platform to travel across the state, build a strong support group for herself and also become a figure well known across the state and not just a figure in Bengaluru's politics," the source said.
With this move, party insiders say that Shivakumar will earn two loyalists. "Sowmya will be positioned as the candidate for women empowerment and her role would be to consolidate a vote base of women. Most of the Yuva Morcha presidents in the Congress have gone on to become popular figures in the state. This is because the Youth Congress President has unfettered access to campaigning on the ground and is always handpicked by the party's state president. This is the person, who will be groomed to take on the role of KPCC President someday, although there have been exceptions in the past,” the source said.
Sources said that some of Shivakumar's detractors want Nalapad to be appointed as the President of the youth wing, while NSUI President Manjunath, who has been a long-time loyalist of DK Shivakumar is also aspiring for the post.
"Nalapad will not be appointed due to his controversial past. First the assault and attempted murder case filed in Cubbon Park Police Station, and next was the speeding incident in 2019. His appointment will only draw flak for DK Shivakumar. Manjunath is likely to be given the role of a general secretary of the youth wing but he will not be the face. Sowmya Reddy is urbane, eloquent and has been vocal against the BJP government in handling the COVID-19 crisis unlike the other contenders," the source added.