Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will attend the party’s Karnataka unit’s political affairs committee meeting on Tuesday evening, amid rumblings within ahead of 2023 Assembly polls.
He will also take part in former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s 75th birthday bash in the district headquarters town of Davanagere on Wednesday.
The political affairs committee will be meeting for the first time after its constitution, at Hubballi in North Karnataka around 8 PM on Tuesday.
The 35-member committee including seven special invitees, constituted by Congress President Sonia Gandhi on July 9, has AICC General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka Randeep Singh Surjewala as its convenor.
It has KPCC President D K Shivakumar, Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha M Mallikarjun Kharge, Campaign Committee chief M B Patil, Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council B K Hariprasad, senior leaders like H K Patil, Dinesh Gundu Rao, M Veerappa Moily, and G Parameshwara, among others, as its members.
The meeting is likely to discuss preparations for Assembly polls in Karnataka likely before May next year, and also organisational matters, party sources said.
”He (Rahul Gandhi) has a task cut out as he may address the growing factionalism within the state Congress and will try to send out a message of unity”, sources said.
Rahul’s two-day visit to the State assumes significance as the Congress in Karnataka seems to be in a conundrum, as many within the party fear about it imploding ahead of assembly polls, amid a game of one-upmanship between its two top leaders — Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar — as to who will be the Chief Minister in the event of the party coming to power.
There is also palpable worry within the party about a virtual division getting created between the camps of the two key leaders, hurting its prospects in the polls.
Though both Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar have overtly maintained that the CM will be decided by party’s newly elected MLAs and high command on gaining majority in the polls, their loyalists and camp followers have been projecting their respective leader, making things messy.
Siddaramaiah’s supporters have planned a grand celebrations on his 75th birthday, a mega convention on August 3, an apparent show of strength by his camp.
The event comes ahead of the party sounding a bugle for Assembly polls, despite reservations from a section of old guard, which reportedly include Shivakumar, who has said that he is opposed to ”personality cult” in the party.
Rahul will also visit Chitradurga’s Murugarajendra Mutt, a prominent Lingayat seminary in the region, during the visit on August 3, and meet Sri Shivamurthy Murugha Sharanaru and seers of various mutts.
The former Congress President during his last visit to the state in April had set a target of winning 150 seats to his party’s state unit, in a bid to bring it back to power, and urged for unity among its rank and file.