Like it or not, Siddaramaiah to call shots in Lok Sabha poll

Bengaluru: Former CM Siddaramaiah may not have succeeded in upping the Congress tally in the Assembly polls-its tally fell from 120 plus to 79- but the party continues to repose confidence in him with Congress president Rahul Gandhi reportedly hinting that he would be given the responsibility of leading the state team to identify potential candidates to contest the 28 Lok Sabha constituencies in Karnataka.

The task was discussed when the former CM met Mr Gandhi in Delhi on Monday.
Both leaders felt the coalition could double its seat tally if the Congress and JD(S) work in tandem to defeat the BJP.     With Lok Sabha elections less than a year away, former chief minister Siddaramaiah could well shoulder more responsibility in addition to the two hats he already wears — chairman of the coordination committee and leader of the Congress legislature party (CLP).  The Kuruba strongman was reportedly sounded by party president Rahul Gandhi that he would be given the responsibility of leading the state unit team to identify potential candidates to contest from 28 Lok Sabha constituencies. 

The task was discussed when the former chief minister met Mr Gandhi in Delhi on Monday.  Sources in the party said Mr Siddaramaiah reportedly brought up many issues, including an analysis of recent Assembly elections, and how the coalition government was functioning in the state. He reportedly stressed the need to commence the ground work for Lok Sabha elections. At this juncture, Mr Gandhi reportedly asked the former chief minister to take up the responsibility of identifying potential candidates for all constituencies. 

Both leaders felt that the coalition could double its seat tally if the partners wonder in tandem to defeat the BJP next year.  Sources said even though the state unit president Dinesh Gundu Rao and a team of central leaders would work to shortlist candidates, Mr Siddaramaiah would have a major say in the entire process. “One, Mr Gundurao himself is close to Mr Siddaramaiah. Two, since Mr Siddaramaiah tightened the grip over the party and with the central leadership will bank on him to turn the tide in favour of our party. Therefore, Mr Siddaramaiah got one more responsibility and this clearly shows he has become very powerful in the party,” sources added.

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