While the party has already declared that the 2018 elections will be fought under his leadership, it is interesting to see him winning more brownie points day on day.

On Wednesday, newly appointed AICC general secretary in charge of Karnataka, K C Venugopal went to the extent of hailing the Siddaramaiah led government as “excellent”.

Little wonder that Siddaramaiah looked immensely pleased with himself soon after the party’s coordination committee meeting, held in Bengaluru on Wednesday. A relaxed Siddaramaiah, who was seated next to Venugopal during the press meet did not even get perturbed when uncomfortable questions were volleyed at him.

The ‘nidra priya’ even managed to get some shut-eye during the brief press conference. He had to be nudged awake twice.

Venugopal also praised KPCC president G Parameshwara. When asked about the confusion prevailing over the KPCC leadership, Venugopal said. “The KPCC president is doing well. All confusions will be cleared this month itself,” he said.

According to party insiders, Siddaramaiah has succeeded in impressing the Venugopal team, making it more and more likely that he might have the last say in the appointment of the KPCC chief.

Lingayat leaders S R Patil and M B Patil are his chosen candidates. Appointment of either leaders will ensure that there is no further threat to Siddaramaiah’s seat. In fact Siddaramaiah had removed S R Patil from the cabinet, by assuring him the KPCC chief post.

In the event that the central leadership feels that a Dalit leader should be at the helm of affairs, it is even likely that Siddaramaiah might bat for the continuation of Parameshwara’s term, despite their personal differences. Unlike Energy Minister D K Shivakumar (Vokkaliga), who is a top contender for the post, Parameshwara is of a lesser threat to Siddaramaiah. Siddaramaiah is completely opposed to Shivakumar’s appointment to the post.

 

Vishwanath’s exit

AICC Karnataka in charge K C Venugopal on Wednesday said that former MP, A H Vishwanath, will not quit the party. “He has not given any complaint. I just had an informal discussion with him. He will stay in the party,” he added.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, against whom Vishwanath has raised a banner of revolt, also said that there were no differences between himself and the latter. “As far as I know, he will not quit the party,” he added.

 

Kharge to play key role

It is reliably learnt that Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge will be deputed to manage the affairs of Karnataka ahead of the elections. Though it is widely rumoured that Kharge too is one of the contenders for the post, sources said that the central leadership would want to maintain the status quo. However, this does not rule out Kharge’s role in the affairs of the party’s state unit. “It is inevitable that he oversees the party affairs during the elections. In what capacity he will be brought back, it yet to be decided by the high command. Not only will Kharge bridge the gap between the party and the government, he will also quell the internal squabbling,” sources said.

Sources also said that the party has to ensure that the Dalit community too is suitably represented. Of the 224 Assembly seats in Karnataka, 51 seats are reserved, with 39 of them in Hyderabad Karnataka. The 74 year old leader has been elected nine consecutive times from this region (Kalaburagi).