Bangalore, August 1: The Karnataka unit of the Congress seems to be going the BJP way when it comes to infighting over plum party posts.
While Lingayat leaders claimed their stake for the party chief’s post, Vokkaliga leaders rallied behind Union Minister S M Krishna seeking his intervention to remove G Parameshwara as the State president.
Leaders of both communities held parallel meetings in Bangalore on Tuesday evening, bringing caste polarisation to the fore, a la ruling BJP. But there is a commonality in the camps’ demand — the ouster of Parameshwara as the KPCC president.
While the Lingayats projected MLA Shamanur Shivashankarappa as an alternative to Parameshwara, the Vokkaligas brought pressure on Krishna to return to State politics.
As many as 14 Vokkaliga MLAs assembled at Krishna’s residence in Sadashivanagar urging him to “play a more active role” in the State. The meeting comes a day after Krishna declared in Kolar that he had no plans to return to State politics as he held a responsible post at the Centre.
The Vokkaliga legislators had no hesitation in telling Krishna to bring in a change in the leadership, despite Parameshwara being close to him. Krishna reportedly did not react to their demand.
Vokkaliga legislators, including Krishna Byre Gowda, A Manju, Dr Sudhakar, Kimmane Ratnakar, Krishnappa, Priya Krishna, Narendra, Satyanarayana and others, met Krishna over dinner. The main grouse of the 19 Vokkaliga MLAs in the party is that Parameshwara had failed to take them into confidence. If Krishna is unwilling to become the president, then he should ensure ‘some other able leader’ replaces Parameshwara, they said.
Lingayat leaders met at a hotel and reiterated their demand for a “suitable role” for Shivashankarappa in the party as he is the “unanimous choice as the leader of Lingayats.”
Ashok Pattanashetty, B C Patil, Amaregouda Bayyapur, Rajashekara Patil, Allum Veerabhadrappa, M V Rajashekharan and Eshwara Khandre were present at the meeting.
Siddaramaiah too had been to the hotel where the Lingayats’ meeting was held, but he said that he went there to meet a senior party leader and not to attend the meeting.
Later speaking to reporters, MLC M V Rajashekharan said, “We have chosen Shamanur as the commander-in-chief of our community. Ours is the only community that can take all the other communities together and bring about social justice. The high command should take this into consideration and give Shamanur a suitable post.”