Bangalore, May 9: Has the Congress already started squandering the welcome majority that it received in Karnataka on May 8? Is the intensifying fight in the party over the chief minister's post is an indicator that the new government will walk the way of the one just dumped by the tired electorate of the state?
Apart from the likes of Siddaramaiah, Mallikarjun Kharge and Veerappa Moily, former KPCC President R V Deshapande, former KPCC working president D K Shivakumar, TB Jayachandra, who was the Deputy Floor Leader of Congress in the outgoing Assembly and senior Lingayat leader Shyamanur Shivashankarappa have also thrown their hats into the ring. Many of these leaders are dodging the actual question by parroting the same line: "The High Command will take the final call."
The Congress speaks like that. No issues.
An AICC team is set to arrive in Bangalore on Friday to assess the views of the legislatiro on the issue of chief minister, Congress sources said. The team will comprise senior minister A K Antony, AICC general secretary in-charge of the state Madhusudan Mistri, Karnatataka's screening committee chairman Luizinho Faleiro and Union Minister Jitender Singh.
But what if this becomes a long-lasting issue for the Congress? Will the leadership issue be settled once the government becomes fully functional or will the High Command culture instill a sense of dissatisfaction in the electorate by toying around with the CM candidate?
The state might still not have overcome the sorry treatment that was meted out to late Chief Minister Veerendra Patil by the top leadership of the party. The Congress is yet to win back the support of the Lingayats, the biggest community, after that incident. Can the Congress afford to repeat another such move?
What could prove to be a bigger headache for the Congress for sometime is the loss of state Congress chief G Parameshwar. The man had said that the Congress was set to return to power and even predicted 120 seats this time, but ironically lost to JDS's Sudhakar Lal in Koratagere in Tumkur district. The four-time legislator was widely seen as the frontrunner for the CM's post and although he played down his loss, local Congress supporters feel that this one loss might have the potential to ruin the sweet taste of victory in 120 seats.
The Congress government has to meet a number of challenges in Karnataka. The list is long:
1. Dealing with corruption which led to the downfall of the previous regime.
2. Deal with the Lokayukta, something which had rattled the previous BJP government on the issue of corruption. The Lokayukta had raided a Congress MLA in January at eight premises in connection to disproportionate assets case. Can the party afford to see repetition of such instances?
3. Arrive at an understanding with the Tamil Nadu government on the Kaveri water-sharing issue. The Congress, while in Opposition, had raised objection to the idea of sharing the river water with Tamil Nadu. Will it continue with such stand?
4. Handling the issue of communal tension and attack on minorities.
5. Issues like pollution, garbage disposal, restoration of lakes, expansion of Metro and women's safety.
But to present an efficient administration and deal with key issues soundly, the party needs to settle for a strong leadership at the helm. The people of Karnataka has given it an important task to restore the state's health. The priorities should be right for the new regime.