Truce in Karnataka Congress camp temporary; continued rift may spell doom | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: The crisis in the Karnataka Congress, precipitated by KPCC chief DK Shivakumar and former chief minister Siddaramaiah jostling for supremacy, is far from over.
Party functionaries say the veterans positioned themselves to protect their turf and the facade of unity has broken down in the run-up to the 2023 assembly polls. Though the AICC stepped in and prevented things from spinning out of control, functionaries admit it’s a temporary respite. The way party leaders are projecting themselves as CM candidate, the fight appears more within the party than against BJP or JD(S),” said a senior AICC functionary.
With no indication of the high command preferring one leader over another, it appears the party has let confusion prevail so that each candidate garners maximum support in his area of influence. “Cracks in the state unit can derail the party’s attempts to corner the Yediyurappa government and spell doom ahead of the elections,” say some party veterans.
As caste plays an important part in state politics, it’s no surprise that the aspirants have more than one reason to stake their claim.
On the ground, Siddaramaiah holds an edge over Shivakumar. The Kuruba community, to which the former CM belongs, constitutes 7%-9% of the population and Siddaramaiah is its tallest leader and still the face of Ahinda (Dalits, backward communities and minorities).
In many assembly seats, Kuruba votes are crucial for a win. He also enjoys the support of power leaders like MB Patil and KJ George, among others.
The Vokkaliga community, to which Shivakumar belongs, constitutes about 12% of the population but it’s is largely concentrated in the southern belt and the JD(S) continues to have away over them in several districts. Shivakumar is aggressive and capable of galvanising the Congress and taking on BJP.
Political observers view the clash a serious threat. “It is often said (in Karnataka) that no one defeats the Congress; the Congress defeats itself! It would be important for the central leadership to counsel both leaders to advise their followers to demonstrate restraint. This jockeying for a post-2023 election leadership becomes relevant only if the party wins! That’s the focus. Unless the central leadership steps in, this infighting will continue,” said analyst Sandeep Shastri.
Senior Congress functionary BL Shankar said the party has better prospects only if the election is fought under a collective leadership. “The question of who will become CM arises only when you have a majority. The high command will consult the Congress Legislative Party and announce the CM. There’s no point in fighting now and denting the prospects,” he said.


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