Congress faces factionalism in Karnataka ahead of Assembly elections

New Delhi: Amidst factionalism in the Karnataka Congress, the central election committee (CEC) of the party met in the national capital to decide on the remaining candidates for the impending Assembly elections in the state.

Though the Congress is putting on a united face, fissures among camps run deep. If the party has to wrest the state from the BJP, it will have to remove these differences.

Despite an appearance of unity, there are signs that the factions led by Karnataka state Congress president D.K. Shivakumar and the Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah continue to be at loggerheads. The two leaders are learnt to be silently working to ensure the support of a maximum number of party MLAs so that they can emerge as Chief Minister if the party is elected to power in the May 10 elections.

There have been rumblings of discontent over the ticket allocation in recent days. On Monday, there were protests in front of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) office. The aspirations are running high in the Congress camp since some of the opinion polls are projecting a comfortable Congress win.

Apart from the Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah camps, there are others led by Congress general secretary incharge Randeep Singh Surjewala and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, who hails from the state. His son is a MLA and has served as a minister earlier.

Siddaramaiah on Tuesday denied a media report that claimed the former chief minister said that the party high command will not decide who should be the CM, instead the MLAs will take a call. He said: "I said in an interview that I am a CM aspirant, as is Mr Shivakumar our aim is to defeat the BJP. The newly elected MLAs will elect the CM and ultimately the decision will be taken by the high command."

After the CEC meeting, the Congress was at pains to explain that there is complete unanimity amongst leaders.

Speaking to the media, Mr urjewala said: "We have had meetings of the screening committee as well as the CEC and we were the first party to declare 124 candidates with unanimity. Now also, there is complete unanimity in the party and the other list will be announced later today."

Shivakumar also said that the party is together. He further added, "There is no difference between Siddaramaiah and me. All our hearts are clear."

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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