Bengaluru, March 11, 2020: Congress made two important appointments to fill pending vacancies of party chiefs in Karnataka and Delhi on Wednesday afternoon, moments after former party stalwart Jyotiraditya Scindia formally joined the BJP in Delhi.
Karnataka troubleshooter D K Shivakuamr was appointed KPCC chief while former party MLA Anil Chaudhary was appointed the president of Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee.
Apart from Shivakumar--a Vokkaliga-- the Congress also appointed three working presidents in Karnataka-- Eashwar Khandre, Satish Jharkiholi and Salim Ahammed.
Among the three working presidents appointed on Wednesday, one is from the most dominant Lingayat community --Khandara, another from the Nayaka community (ST)--Jharkiholi and one is a Muslim-- Ahammed. Caste equations are considered to be politically important in Karnataka.
The KPCC president’s post has been vacant ever since the party lost badly in the state by-polls held last year, helping the BJP consolidate power. Former chief Dinesh Gundu Rao quit after the BJP won 12 of the 15 by-poll seats, giving it a comfortable majority in the assembly.
The timing of the appointments couldn’t be missed as it came within moments of Jyotriaditya Scindia joining the BJP. Many analysts have attributed his exit to a flux in the Congress.
Shivakumar had established himself as the party’s main troubleshooter in times of crisis in Karnataka and the perceived delay in his elevation was said to be breeding “uncertainty” in the party’s Karnataka unit.
A Congress leader in the state and former Karnataka minister had raised concerns over the position of the party chief lying vacant since last year.
“How long can the current uncertainty continue?” he asked. Shivakumar is seen as an aggressive leader who can rejuvenate the party marred by political bickering and factional feud since it formed a coalition government with the JD(S), which collapsed partly due to internal discontent among party leaders.
Shivakumar is currently under probe by the income tax and enforcement directorate in cases of alleged tax evasion and money laundering. He is currently out on bail.
He is a seven-term MLA and has served as a minister under three former Congress chief ministers, namely, S Bangarappa, S M Krishna and Siddaramiah and also under one former JD(S) chief minister Kumaraswamy.
Shivakumar is also one of the richest politicians in the state and his brother D K Suresh is a two-term parliamentarian and is the sitting MP from Bangalore Rural constituency.