Will Chief Minister Siddaramaiah get to have his cake and eat it too? Looks like it. The Congress high command is likely to “suitably” accommodate Siddaramaiah’s chosen candidate S R Patil, who has been pushed out of the race for the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) chief post.

According to party insiders, Patil now stands the chance of being appointed as the party’s working president, making him second in command of the party affairs in the State. Though it might seem like a consolation prize for Patil, it comes as a good news to Siddaramaiah, who can have indirect control over the party activities.

After hectic parleys, the Congress on Monday decided to continue with G Parameshwara as the State unit chief - an official announcement is yet to be made. The decision had come as a major disappointment to Energy Minister D K Shivakumar and Patil, who were top contenders for the post. 

However, it’s interesting to note that the fate of both leaders rested with Siddaramaiah who ensured that his arch rival Shivakumar was silenced first. Next, he made sure that he kept his promise to Patil. Last year Patil had agreed to be dropped from the cabinet on a condition that Siddaramaiah ensured his appointment as the party’s chief. 

The Congress high command however felt it was wise to continue with a Dalit leader at the helm. This too worked in Siddaramaiah’s favour, as it meant Parameshwara’s resignation to the Home portfolio. Siddaramaiah has been waiting to bring back Bengaluru Development Minister K J George to the Home department. Parameshwara is yet to tender his resignation.

Patil spoilt for choice
Though it was strongly rumoured that Patil would be made the Chairman in the Legislative Council, sources told Aisanet Newsable that the MLC would be appointed as the party’s working president alongside Dinesh Gundu Rao.
Congress MLCs in fact have submitted a notice to the secretary of the Legislative Council seeking to move a no confidence motion against the incumbent Chairman, D H Shankarmurthy, who is a BJP MLC. It is being speculated that this exercise is being undertaken to pave way for Patil to occupy the Chair.

“Whether Patil will be made the party’s working president or the Council chairman, he will definitely not be given a raw deal, as he is strongly backed by Siddaramaiah. However, at least four senior Congress MLCs are vying to be elected as the chairman. It is very likely that one of the four will be considered for the post,” said a party leader. 

 

According to the leader, MLCs V S Ugrappa, Motamma, K C Kondaiah and Pratap Chandra Shetty are vying for the chairman post. As many as seven MLCs, including Ugrappa and Kondaiah, submitted the notice to the Council secretary under Rule 165 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business, on Monday. They have said that they have no confidence in Shankarmurthy’s style of functioning, as hence were seeking his ouster.

Though the Congress does not have the required numbers in the House, it is confident that the JD(S) will abstain from voting, helping the Congress candidate win the elections by default. Presently, the JD(S) has extended support to the BJP. If Shankarmurthy does not resign on his own accord, then the motion will be put for a vote in the upcoming monsoon session.