IN THE run-up to the election of the veteran Mallikarjun Kharge because the president of the Congress this week, some BJP leaders urged that his victory will end result within the emergence of a 3rd faction within the Congress in Karnataka.
Other than the Siddaramaiah (former Congress CM and Chief of Opposition) faction and the D Okay Shivakumar (Karnataka PCC chief) faction, there would now even be a Kharge faction, the BJP’s state in-charge for Karnataka, Arun Singh, mentioned at a Jana Sankalpa rally of the celebration on October 16 within the Dharwad area of the state.
Whereas that continues to be to be seen, the Congress within the state has blended emotions over the re-emergence of Kharge — a Karnataka CM candidate in 2008 and 2013 — as an influence centre within the celebration after over a decade in central politics.
Many appear to see Kharge — together with his huge data of Karnataka politics, his 40 years of expertise therein, and his familiarity with the footsoldiers of the celebration within the 224 Meeting constituencies within the state — enjoying the position of a buffer between the Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar factions and stopping the Congress from imploding below the burden of inside rivalries within the 2023 Meeting elections.
However others see Kharge posing a risk to the primacy established within the Karnataka Congress by the chief of the Congress Legislature Occasion (Siddaramaiah) since 2013 and by the KPCC president (Shivakumar) since his appointment in 2020. The election of Kharge because the nationwide president of the All India Congress Committee is certain to “make the large two in Karnataka nervous”, mentioned a mid-level Congress chief and former state legislator.
The rivalry between Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar is the Congress’s greatest concern proper now, and will come to a head throughout candidate choice in 2023.
On the face of it, Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar haven’t proven any indicators of nervousness, and have been magnanimous in welcoming the brand new Congress president.
Siddaramaiah described Kharge’s victory on October 19 as a proud second for all Kannadigas, and mentioned Kharge’s “expertise, dedication and insights will drive the Congress in the correct path”.
Shivakumar’s response was virtually the identical. “Along with his (Kharge’s) huge expertise as a pacesetter, I’m certain he’ll add worth and take the celebration to newer heights. A proud second for us Kannadigas as Sri Kharge is sort of connected to his grassroots,” he mentioned.
Probably the most enthused are the leaders of the celebration who’re 20 to 30 years youthful than the 80-year-old new Congress president, who see his election as a boon – particularly provided that the Meeting elections are barely six months away. A Congress chief lists his attributes, together with the truth that he has risen from being a Youth Congress chief in 1969, in addition to “integrity, dedication, simplicity, loyalty, endurance”.
“Khargeji is aware of everybody within the Karnataka unit of the celebration out and in. He is aware of the social composition of the state, the political equations in each nook. He has his personal community on the sector, in contrast to earlier leaders. This shall be helpful to the celebration and stop favoritism and errors in candidate choice,” one other mid-level Congress chief mentioned.
One other chief is hopeful of the emergence of Kharge “bringing down variations, reasonably than growing them”. “Everybody will attempt to work for the celebration, and it will lead to political features.” As a former MP added: “The Congress’s nationwide president can’t have a faction of his personal in a state unit. It is going to be seen instantly by the excessive command… In a democratic organisation, there shall be inside variations, ideological variations, however that doesn’t imply that there isn’t any unity. If Khargeji takes sides, it can ship the flawed message in different states.”
As per the Congress chief, Kharge additionally has the benefit of time. With Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat polls previous Karnataka’s, he mentioned, “Khargeji might set up himself as a nationwide Congress chief to be reckoned with forward of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.”
Among the many different large features Congress leaders count on is the potential of Scheduled Caste votes consolidating behind the celebration within the state on account of Kharge’s stature as Karnataka’s tallest Dalit chief.
Some leaders are enthused about lastly having somebody on the centre whom they may have entry to. A Congress chief from the Bengaluru area talked about how they’ve struggled in recent times to have the ear of the nationwide management.
A Congress employee identified that Kharge’s election adopted shut on the heels of the excessive of Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra in Karnataka. “The mixture of Kharge’s election, the Yatra and the anti-incumbency towards the BJP authorities in Karnataka will lead to a 2-3% swing of vote share in favour of the Congress,” the employee mentioned.
There are, nevertheless, sceptics who imagine the Congress could also be too optimistic about Kharge’s management. A former legislator, who urged that Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar may be having jitters about Kharge’s election, mentioned: “Kharge has by no means been identified to be an excellent organiser. He is an efficient parliamentarian, he’s a household loyalist and he’s not a danger taker. The Congress has taken a protected wager with him.”
The previous legislator just isn’t too optimistic in regards to the Dalit assist both. “The part of the Dalit neighborhood (to which Kharge belongs) is already with the Congress, and there can solely be a marginal enhance in SC assist from the appointment of Kharge.”
The chief provides that it’s going to all come down lastly to candidate choice for 2023. And Kharge’s file just isn’t too rosy on that account. Some Congress leaders imagine a part of the explanation the celebration misplaced within the 2008 Meeting polls in Karnataka was the unhealthy candidate choice on some seats by Kharge because the state chief, on account of “flawed recommendation”.
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