Ahead of the Lok Sabha poll results, the Congress in Karnataka is set to hold a meeting of its state co-ordination committee on Wednesday to iron out issues between the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government and the party.
The call for a meeting of the co-ordination committee under the leadership of central observer Digvijaya Singh comes at the conclusion of the first year in power for the Congress government and even as the old guard in the party is expected to push for a change in leadership if the Congress, under Siddaramaiah, fails to do well in the state.
The meeting also comes amid strong criticism of the government by the opposition BJP, Governor H R Bhardwaj and even certain quarters of the Congress for slipping into a slumber on governance since the Lok Sabha polls in the state. The meeting is expected to address a road map for the government and the party in the aftermath of the Lok Sabha election results — including functioning of the chief minister, ministers and appointments from the party to various boards and corporations.
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The chief minister’s camp is not particularly pleased with the call for the co-ordination committee meeting in the aftermath of most exit polls projecting the Congress as making no ground in the Lok Sabha polls despite being in power in the state. Siddaramaiah is expecting the Congress to win at least 15 seats in Karnataka while most exit polls have given lower projections, sources said.
“There was no need for the co-ordination committee meeting to be called now. It could have been held after the Lok Sabha poll results are announced,” sources in the government said. Siddaramaiah is expected to come under intense pressure from the old guard in the Congress, who are keen to oust the chief minister reliant for his support on a new Congress guard.
One of the old Congress guards, energy minister D K Shivakumar, who was inducted into the Congress government despite resistance to his inclusion by the chief minister’s camp over his alleged tainted record, has frequently stated on record that he intends to be chief minister.
Opposition BJP leader D V Sadananda Gowda also alleged recently that the Congress old guard, comprising Dalit leaders like railway minister Mallikarjun Kharge and state Congress president G Parameshwar, had worked secretly to ensure that the Siddaramaiah-backed Congress candidate H Vishwanath loses the parliament polls in the chief minister’s home district of Mysore.