Bengaluru: Almost one year after creating the post of a second state working president, the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) has decided to do away with the arrangement as part of its organizational restructuring in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
The Congress, which always had one working president at the state level, made an exception in Karnataka to accommodate S.R. Patil, a Lingayat member, representing the north, as the second working president.
Harish Ramaswamy, political analyst and faculty at the Karnatak University, Dharwad, said that the only reason the second post was created was to satisfy north Karnataka and the Lingayat community. “Organizationally, it does not send the right kind of signal in carrying out directives."
However, Patil submitted his resignation on 25 May, taking moral responsibility for the party’s abysmal performance in north Karnataka, where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won most seats.
The Congress has now promoted Dinesh Gundu Rao as the new KPCC president, after G. Parameshwara became the deputy chief minister in the coalition government headed by H.D. Kumaraswamy. Eshwar Khandre, the legislator from Bhalki in Bidar, was named the working president in place of Rao.
“There is nothing on the agenda. I don’t think it (second working president) is being considered," said Rao. “Patil was accommodated as elections were coming close and they wanted to give more time and effort to those regions (north Karnataka), but right now I don’t think there is any such thinking."
Ever since the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular), or JD(S), government was formed, the national party has been battling dissent within its ranks, with several senior leaders complaining about not landing a cabinet berth. Now, with six vacancies still left in the ministry, the Congress is trying hard to quell the dissent and ensure stability of the state government, besides improving its prospects for the 2019 general elections. The Congress, which had won 122 seats in 2013, were reduced to 80 seats in 2018, coming a distant second to the BJP with 104 of the 224 assembly seats.