Karnataka: Why are rebels a concern for both the Congress and BJP

Written by: Maitreyee Boruah
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Bengaluru, July 4: In the next two years, the southern state of Karnataka is slated for the assembly elections in 2018. The two major parties-both the Congress and BJP-have already started making preparations for the polls. The state polls are important for both the political parties.

However, both the parties have to first resolve their internal feuds and appease the rebels before jumping into the poll fray. Take for instance the case of the Congress. The incumbent chief minister Siddaramaiah faced open rebellion after he went ahead with the controversial cabinet reshuffle recently that left several senior leaders fuming.

Yediurappa-Siddaramaiah

The chief minister sacked 14 out of 34 ministers in a major revamp in June. The cabinet reshuffle caused mayhem in the Congress party's Karnataka unit, as supporters of several party leaders, who were either sacked or were not inducted in the Siddaramaiah's cabinet, openly protested on the streets of various parts of the state.

The sources in the Congress party say that the rebel leaders like V Srinivasa Prasad, MH Ambareesh and M Krishnappa need to be tamed at the earliest to end the crisis.

The Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) chief G Parameshwara recently warned the rebels to end their protest against the chief minister. "Dissent after every reshuffle is common but it should have some limit," said Parameshwara. The KPCC chief said Siddaramaiah went ahead with the cabinet rejig after due consultation with the party high command.

It is not only the Congress that is dealing with internal bickering. The opposition BJP is also facing a mutiny. The newly-appointed BJP president BS Yeddyurappa told his colleagues that he won't tolerate any anti-party activities.

Dissidence within the party came to light after Yeddyurappa was informed by the BJP national leadership about the imminent internal storm. The former chief minister was asked by the senior BJP leaders at the centre to take necessary action to bury the hatchet within the party. Reports say BJP's internal feud is the result over the recent appointment of office-bearers by Yeddyurappa without discussing the names with the core committee.

"No matter how influential a person may be, such activities won't be allowed. We are forming a disciplinary committee to keep a watch over those indulging in such activities," Yeddyurappa told his party colleagues.
Political experts say both the parties need to end their family fights first before they start their preparation for 2018 polls.

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