After the humiliating loss in Lok Sabha elections for the Congress party, where they were reduced to an all-time low of just one seat in Karnataka, a 'Truth Finding Committee' has been constituted to ascertain factors leading to shoddy performance of the grand old party whose fortunes seem to be dwindling.
Republic has exclusively accessed both the questionnaire used and the report which will be submitted to the state Congress president and AICC core committee on October 2nd. In a period of 90 days, the committee has prepared its report by extensively but discreetly interviewing block and district Congress leaders from across the state.
The committee headed by former minister Basavaraj Rayareddy, while lambasting against the state leadership and even naming some senior leaders in the report, has absolved the central leaders of the Congress of the defeat. The questionnaire, a copy of which Republic has accessed, among other questions asks the respondents if:
During elections, have the campaigns been conducted successfully or no? If not, reasons.
During the campaign, did all the local leaders, MLAs take part in the programmes or not. Reasons.
Did the candidate take into account people from all religions and caste? If not, reasons.
Have people from all religions, castes and classes supported the party? If not, reasons.
Have youth and women voters supported the party or not?
The report has compiled the collective responses of hundreds of Congress leaders and workers and has put forth some startling revelations and admonitions. In toto, the report blames infighting, lack of cooperation between the two coalition partners and caste factor for the atrophy of Congress in Karnataka.
In Kolar district, the personal animosity between strong leaders, Ramesh Kumar and K. H. Muniyappa is said to have resulted in the loss of a Congress bastion. In Tumakuru where the former prime minister and JDS Supremo HD Devegowda contested from, the report claims that the party workers toiled day and night to defeat the coalition candidate. It goes on to add that KS Rajanna, a former MP worked with other disgruntled leaders, some even from JDS to campaign against Gowda.
In Bengaluru North constituency from where former minister Krishna Byregowda contested and faced defeat, MLAs who are now disqualified like Byrathi Basavaraj, Munirathna, ST Somashekhar, and others did not work for the candidate. Even months before their disqualification, this report implies that they were working against the party at the behest of ‘external forces’.
In Gulbarga where Congress heavyweight and former union minister Mallikharjuna Kharge faced a drubbing, the report observed that even the Lingayats in Congress worked for Umesh Jadhav, the opposing candidate who defected to BJP just months before the elections. Compounding this was the Modi factor which reportedly worked heavily in the region.
In the high-pitched battle for Mandya, the rebel Congress leaders who were peeved with the last-minute candidature of former CM’s son Nikhil Kumaraswamy, have worked for the independent candidate, Sumalatha. The committee has also determined that in most constituencies, the coalition with JDS caused the defeat of Congress candidates. The conclusion is that if fought without JDS as an ally, numbers and organisational strength would increase in all regions.
The report also denotes that the coalition was announced without taking local leaders into confidence because of which leaders who were against the partnership ensured JDS candidates were also defeated.