Bengaluru: Will CM Siddaramaiah dump his plan of poaching about 20-25 legislators of Opposition parties as part of his strategy to shore up the party’s strength post Assembly polls owing to stiff resistance from within the ruling Congress?
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, a senior leader said though Mr Siddaramaiah was doing his best to rope in “winnable” candidates from north Karnataka and Old Mysore region, including rebel JD(S) MLAs and former ministers Umesh Katti and Anand Singh, his efforts would not help the party.
“What he is doing is accepted in a political scenario like this, where the party is likely to lose at least 20-25 legislators due to anti-incumbency factor. To bridge this gap, Mr Siddaramaiah is trying his best to induct winnable candidates into the party's fold,” the leader added. The leader stated that leaders like Mr Katti are weighing their options on whether to join the Congress, JD(S) or continue in the BJP as he was aware that he would not be able to bargain much in his favour in the ruling party given the clout of Jarkiholi brothers and Prakash Hukkeri in Belagavi district.
“Both Hukkeri and Jarkiholis are influential within the Congress and they generally do not like the challenge posed by a leader like Mr Katti and Mr Katti too knows this. Thus, he has not yet made up his mind but is in touch with Mr Siddaramaiah. Even in Mr Singh’s case Congress workers vent their ire in the presence of KPCC president, Dr G. Parameshwar, during his visit to Ballari to oversee arrangements to receive AICC president Rahul Gandhi, during his visit to Ballari on Feb 10. Therefore, all over the state among Congress leaders barring a few influential, have started feeling that Mr Siddaramaiah might replace them with a winnable candidate. This has aggravated squabbles within the party, leading to status quo in many constituencies which inturn has hampered party work,” the leader added.
The leader said in view of hostility towards new comers, the party too could drop the plan to induct 20 to 25 legislators, and decide to field weak candidates to ensure a victory of these “winnable” legislators who could be brought on board when the party falls short of the magic number of 113 to form the government in May 2018.
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