BANGALORE: For the Karnataka Congress, the thumping victory in the recent assembly elections was manna from heaven as it had been out of power since 2004.
The public as well as a section of the intellectuals who wanted a change in government for various reasons was delighted as the “most controversial regime” had come to an end. For, the BJP regime was mired in dissidence, scams besides pushing the agenda of Sangh Parivar overtly and covertly.
Therefore, there were high expectations that the new Congress government would be better in every respect. But the Congress has disappointed one and all by not learning from the mistakes committed by the BJP government.
The two-month old Congress government is already in the grips of serious dissidence, a fact chief minister Siddaramaiah admits but refuses to accord any importance. A group of senior Congress legislators led by KPCC president G Parameshwara are reportedly creating a chasm within the ruling party to put Siddaramaiah on a troubled pitch.
The ugly head of dissidence was raised in the party when Digvijay Singh, in charge of party affairs in Karnataka visited the state recently. A section of leaders made a strong pitch to set up a coordination committee involving leaders from government and party. They also demanded for the elevation of Parameshwara to the post of deputy CM. While the high command heeded to one of their wishes, the second wish was not considered for political and technical reasons.
The result is that one can see two power centres within the state unit of the Congress. Parameshwara continues to keep Siddaramaiah in check by writing missives. In his third successive missive written to Siddaramaiah in two months on Saturday, Parameshwara has asked the CM to fulfill promises made in the party’s election manifesto in his state Budget to be presented on July 12. He also has asked Siddaramaiah to take the defeated candidates in 102 constituencies into confidence while implementing the poll promises.
“Such letters are bound to create misunderstanding and give away to more dissidences. Siddaramaiah and Prameshwara should meet and discuss the issue to sort it out. There is no need to write letters and release it to media,” said a senior Congress leader loyal to Siddaramaiah.
Countering this, another leader, loyal to Parameshwara said: “Siddaramaiah never took Parameshwara into confidence from day one. He announced several populist schemes without taking Parameshwara into confidence. Now he is facing the music.”
In another embarrassment to the ruling Congress came after minor irrigation minister Shivaraj Tangadagi over the transfer of Koppal deputy commissioner Tulsi Maddineni. Tangadagi is said to have pressured Siddaramaiah to transfer her for ordering the demolition of a bungalow built by the minister’s brother Nagaraj on an allegedly encroached land in Koppal district.
But several leaders are worried that the party high command continued to ignore growing groupism and growth of dual power centre within the organisation. Here the role of Digvijay Singh,who has been seen as a well meaning congress leader for reshaping the party destinies in Karnataka has assumed greater importance. It is for him to guide Sonia Gandhi so that steps are taken to end parallel centres of power.