Karnataka BJP woes give Congress hope after years
By M Venkatesh - BANGALORE
Published: 22nd Jul 2012 12:31:16 PM
The Congress in Karnataka which has been out of power for the last eight years is trying to encash on the infighting in the state BJP, which led to the change of guard in the state leadership.
Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar who had filled up all the ministerial berths when he was administered oath of office is facing fresh bout of dissidence from those who were left out.
According to party sources some of the disgruntled BJP legislators have already sent feelers to join the Congress and rock the boat of the saffron government.
Five independent MLAs in the state Assembly also reportedly got in touch with the state Congress leaders expressing their inclination to join the Congress. With Assembly elections round the corner, the Congress leaders are reluctant to topple the saffron government fearing backlash at the hustings. Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president Dr Parameshwara said “When the government is tottering and likely to collapse anytime on its own weight, where is the need to pull it down.”
Meanwhile. the Central party high command has instructed all its council of ministers to visit the party office whenever they happen to come to the state capital for official work and address the party workers and local leaders.
Recently the Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, who was here on an official trip preferred to have an interaction with the party leaders and the workers at the KPCC office.
Addressing the party workers, the Union Minister highlighted the achievements of the UPA government at the Centre and exhorted the party workers and the leaders to spread the message to the masses.
While castigating the ruling BJP government in the state, Jairam Ramesh had exhorted the party workers to exhibit unity and cohesion among the rank and file, which according to him would be enough to put the Congress party in Karnataka back in power.
He also refreshed the memory of the party workers on several pro-people programmes launched under party president Sonia Gandhi’s leadership, like Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, waiver of farm loans to the tune of over `65000 crore, the RTI Act to name a few.
After Ramesh, it was Union Ministers P Chidambaram and Salman Kurshid’s turn. Both the leaders who were also equally articulate had once again briefed the party workers on the performances of the UPA government.
Home Minister Chidambaram in his address to the workers also tried to stir their emotions. He informed that the four years saffron rule in Karnataka, once a frontline state in the country has been relegated to backseat. He also tried to drive home the point that Congress is the only party which can accommodate all sections in the society and present a true picture of secular credential. Apart from this, the senior Congress ministers also gave some political tips to the workers on how to go on an offensive against the ruling BJP.
Ramesh advised the party workers to launch a “lekka kodi” (give an account) movement and demand the state government to release all the details related to the release of the central grants and their utilisation. He had even assured them of giving all the details about the grants from his ministry in order to arm them with facts.
They, however, failed to give any tips to the Congressmen on ways to tackle questions on the track record of the UPA government, especially on scams, scandals and corruption charges including the fraud in the Commonwealth games, 2G spectrum and the much bigger coal block allotment scams.
The party workers were also not briefed by the party’s bigwigs on how to convince the common men if they confronts them on price rise of essential commodities and the falling rupee value.
A Congress leader on condition of anonymity has confessed that these are the exercises which would never be able to fructify and dubbed it as “Futile attempts”. “Unless the UPA government take measures to lessen the burden of the common men at the grassroot level” the condition of the Congress party cannot be expected to improve.
However, KPCC president Parameshwar has strongly endorsed the party’s central leaders direction to the ministers to meet the party workers during their official visit to the state. “It would help to invoke a strong feelings among the rank and file that they were also participating in the efforts to strengthen the party organisation and bring an end to the four years of misrule by the BJP in Karnataka”.
He also referred Central party’s direction to four union ministers from the state including External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, Labour Minister Mallikarjuna Kharge and other two, to organise the party at the divisional level.