Despite losing power, Congress leaders in Karnataka continue squabbling over positions, this time the contention between seniors in the state unit are over positions of leader of opposition and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president.
After the dismal performance of Congress in Karnataka in Lok sabha elections, overhaul of the state leadership was on the cards but had been deferred till the change of leadership at AICC is finalised. With that accomplished, focus is back on the state leadership where the party has not performed.
Sources have told Republic TV that the Congress high command is consulting with senior leaders in the state to seek their opinion on replacing the current KPCC chief Dinesh Gundurao under whose leadership the state failed to secure a majority in the assembly elections and was reduced to a single seat of 28 Lok sabha seats in the state.
Former chief minister Siddaramaiah has reportedly told the high command that he is against replacement of Gundurao as it would send a bad message to the voters and the cadre. He has insisted that the seniors should take collective responsibility for the loss and not make a scapegoat of Gundurao, who many believe functions as per the guidance of the former CM.
But one man who has been pushing for a change of guard in DK Shivakumar who was in Delhi for four days last week, meeting senior leaders and lobbying for the position of KPCC president for himself. DKS, who has in the past served as a working president, has been politicking for the position, urging the leadership to entrust him with the responsibility of leading the party in case mid-term polls were to take place in the state.
AICC is expected to decide on the reshuffle in a few days and the power struggle between senior leaders is making the task more arduous. While both leaders have maintained that there is no animosity between them, as per insiders of the party, both hold each other responsible for the collapse of the coalition government.
While DKS hopes to become a chief minister, heading the party will give that ambition an impetus. His aggressive style of functioning, while could be seen as much needed for the Congress at a time when it is at one of its lowest ebbs, has also earned him many adversaries within.
Siddaramiah has been indirectly controlling the state unit, with the president said to be in his sphere of influence. If Gundurao is dislodged, the former CM fears diminishing of his own clout in the state.
With two strong leaders continuing to indulge in shadow boxing, the renewal of the Congress party seems to be getting distant.