Big task ahead for new KPCC chief

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Bangalore, Sep 26 (UNI) Senior Congress leader R V Deshpande, named as the new Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) Chief by party supremo Sonia Gandhi last night, has to work out a strategy to lead the party for the next year's Lok Sabha elections and the coming byelections to eight Assembly seats in the state.

Mr Deshpande's selection came as a surprise as former Deputy Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was a strong contender to the post.

The post fell vacant after Mr Mallikarjuna Kharge tendered resignation owning moral responsibility for the party's ''poor performance'' in the last Assembly elections in the state in May this year.

Mr Kharge, however, was elected as the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader in the State Legislative Assembly ''outwitting'' Mr Siddaramaiah.

The Congress President was under ''great pressure'' with some senior party leaders urging her not to consider 'new-comers' like Siddaramaiah for the post.

Mr Siddaramaiah, a former JD(S) leader, joined the Congress in 2005 owing to differences with JD(S) President H D Deve Gowda.

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