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Bengaluru: The new Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president will be selected by the end of May, K.C.Venugopal, general secretary in-charge of Karnataka indicated on Wednesday.

“All speculation and confusion over the KPCC president will be cleared by the end of this month," Venugopal said at a press briefing.

This comes at a time when aspiring candidates and their supporters have intensified lobbying for the post of KPCC chief within the state and with the party high command. The new chief will lead the party in next year’s polls.

Venugopal and a four-member All India Congress Committee (AICC) team have been speaking to district, state and national level leaders from Karnataka since Monday to gauge ground realities, prepare for the 2018 elections and shortlist a candidate for the post of KPCC chief.

ALSO READ: Pressure on Siddaramaiah piles up as another Congress leader threatens to quit party

While speculation is rife, senior party leaders have confirmed that the list of likely candidates includes energy minister D.K. Shivakumar, water minister M.B. Patil, former Karnataka IT/BT minister S.R.Patil, former minister of state for railways K.H. Muniyappa and current working president Dinesh Gundu Rao.

The party has also not ruled out extending incumbent president and home minister G. Parameshwara’s term. Parameshwara has been KPCC president since October 2010.

Venugopal brushed aside questions regarding issues within the party, including the open dissent against chief minister Siddaramaiah by stating that there was ‘unprecedented unity’ in the party.

Venugopal said there were many leaders willing to leave their respective parties and join the Congress, but did not name anyone.

Siddaramaiah also refused to acknowledge any dissent within the party.

On Monday, senior Karnataka Congress leader A.H. Vishwanath said he may leave the party as he was being sidelined. He also complained about the “arrogant attitude" of the chief minister towards senior leaders like him.

Former chief minister S.M.Krishna and former state revenue minister V.Srinivas Prasad have quit the Congress and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—the main opposition party in the state.

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