Congress Loses Key Strategist: Sunil Kanugolu Shifts Focus from 2024 Polls

Kanugolu's strategic shift to Haryana and Maharashtra intensifies Congress challenges.

Hyderabad: Sunil Kanugolu, the strategist widely acclaimed for orchestrating the Congress' victories in Karnataka and Telangana, is set to shift his focus away from the party's campaign for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. According to an NDTV report, Kanugolu, formerly part of the Congress' 'Task Force 2024,' will now concentrate on preparing for the party's campaigns in Haryana and Maharashtra.

Kanugolu's reassignment is attributed to his existing teams in place in Haryana and Maharashtra, both of which are scheduled to vote within the next seven months. The Congress, eager to build on last year's triumphs in the Karnataka and Telangana Assembly elections against the ruling BJP and BRS, respectively, sees this move as strategically beneficial.

Despite his absence in the Lok Sabha campaign, Kanugolu's pivotal role as the Congress' key poll tactician remains evident. While acknowledged as a "slight setback" by a senior leader holding the rank of General Secretary, the party believes there is a greater long-term benefit in leveraging Kanugolu's 'Midas touch' to secure victories in key states against the BJP.

Kanugolu will continue to work closely with the Congress' governments in Karnataka, where he serves as Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's primary advisor with a cabinet rank, and Telangana, where he successfully ousted ex-Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao and the BRS that had ruled since 2014.

Kanugolu's significance to the Congress' election machinery is underscored by the party's dismal performances in the Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan elections last year. Initial talks with leaders in those states did not materialize into agreements with Kamal Nath and Ashok Gehlot, the party's oldest and de facto bosses in each region, resulting in significant losses for the Congress.

The success of Kanugolu in Karnataka and Telangana was attributed to his autonomy in decision-making. However, the upcoming Lok Sabha campaign poses more complexity for the Congress, given the intricacies of managing multiple allies and seat-sharing demands within the broader Indian opposition bloc.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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