Congress high command to decide on new KPCC President shortly

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Bangalore, Sep 2 (UNI) Hectic lobbying is on in Congress in Karnataka for the post of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President with two groups -- loyalists and the new comers, indulging in a 'keen tussle'.

With former Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Sidaramaiah, has been summoned by Party High Command to discuss the issue, a group of party leaders are opposing Sidaramaiah's candidature by telling the central party leaders to consider only the names loyal and long time members of the party.

Siddramaiah had joined Congress after parting ways with Janata Dal(S) President H D Deve Gowda.

The post of KPCC has remained vacant after the resignation of the incumbent Mallikarjuna Kharge following his election as the leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) in June this year.

With Sidaramaiah emerging stronger candidate fissures are already being witnessed and opposition is now clear against appointing of new entrants to the coveted post.

The group who were opposing Siddaramaiah have formed a strong lobby led by former Chief Minister N Dharam Singh and former Union minister C K Jaffer Sharief. They have decided to meet party chief Sonia Gandhi and bring pressure against the appointment of Sidaramaiah.

The contention of the party loyalists against Sidaramaiah was that the latter, a strong Kuruba Community leader, had failed to bring his community votes to the party in the recent elections.

Sidaramaiah, who was hitherto not considered for any important party position is not happy with the high command cold shouldering him. There were also reports about the leader from Mysore district deserting the party and examin the invitations from the BJP.

Union minister Prithviraj Chavan, who is also party incharge in Karnataka, was reportedly held several rounds of talks with Sidaramaiah and pursued to assume the post of KPCC.

Sidaramaiah, who was disappointed with party high command on some issues, reportedly put some conditions for accepting the post. This included any kind of alliance with Janatadal(S) in Karnataka.

Congress in Karantaka, which failed to come to the power in the recent Assembly elections, received jolt when three of its legislators deserted the party and joined BJP.

With byelections to seven assembly seats are due in November this year and Lok Sabha elections in early 2009, party high command had decided to fill the vacancy of KPCC as soon as possible without any further delay.

However with party loyalists making all out efforts to spoil Siddaramaiah's chances, it would not be a surprise if the high command decides to appoint another leader as KPCC President.


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