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January 13, 2020

Karnataka: Congress high command summons Siddaramaiah to New Delhi

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Bengaluru, Jan 13: Though he submitted his resignation as leader of the opposition over a month ago, former chief minister Siddaramaiah continues as the face of the Congress in Karnataka.

However, this may change as All India Congress Committee (AICC) interim president Sonia Gandhi has summoned Siddaramaiah to Delhi for a final consultation over change of guard. Over the past month, there has been speculation over the possibility of Congress persisting with Siddaramaiah as opposition leader and either party troubleshooter DK Shivakumar or former ministers MB Patil, HK Patil or Eshwar Khandre replacing incumbent president Dinesh Gundu Rao. Both tendered resignations owing moral responsibility for the party's dismal performance in the 15 bypolls held last month.

In the past 24 hours, there has been talk of Siddaramaiah being asked to be the state unit president and vacating the other post for a young turk or experience legislator including the likes of Shivakumar who could be the face of KPCC by 2023 if he gets a clean chit from the ED in cases of money-laundering, etc. Seniors, including former KPCC president and DyCM G Parameswara and former minister HK Patil, are strong contenders to be leader of the opposition if Siddaramaiah is asked to vacate the post.

However, sources in the Siddaramaiah camp dismissed the possibility of him becoming KPCC president. "He has never aspired for the post and the high command is not inclined to do it," said a member in his camp.

Siddaramaiah may meet Sonia on Tuesday morning. It's still unclear if any other KPCC functionaries have been summoned. Sources said Sonia is scheduled to leave India for medical treatment on January 15 and wanted to complete the consultations about Karnataka. The high command has reportedly gone through reports submitted by party observers Madhusudan Mistry and Parameswara.

Karnataka: Congress high command summons Siddaramaiah to New Delhi

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