Congress drafts senior leaders in states to strengthen party

The Congress has also decided to tap another community — the Bilivas in Karnataka who are involved in toddy tapping, are similar to the Backward Classes and are in traditional occupations in the Mangaluru region.

New Delhi: With an eye on elections, the Congress is now drafting its senior leaders into state politics with the aim of strengthening the state units.

The Congress, which once had very strong regional satraps, is now lacking strong personalities in state politics after the demise of Vilasrao Deshmukh in Maharashtra and Y.S.R. Reddy in Andhra Pradesh whose son Jaganmohan Reddy has drifted from the Congress and is the Chief Minister now.

The Congress party this month nominated B.K. Hariprasad, a former general secretary and former Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka, to balance power and caste equations in the state.

“The high command nominated Hariprasad as he is a senior Backward Classes leader, belonging to the Idiga community,” state Congress leader Prakash Rathod said.

The Congress has also decided to tap another community — the Bilivas in Karnataka who are involved in toddy tapping, are similar to the Backward Classes and are in traditional occupations in the Mangaluru region. This community once produced stalwarts like Janardhana Poojary who had quite an influence in coastal Karnataka. The Congress has decided to tap this segment through Hariprasad.

The OBC component in Karnataka is quite a significant chunk in the political spectrum. Congress leaders Siddaramaiah, D.K. Shivakumar, B.K. Hariprasad and Dalit leader Mallikarjun Kharge along with minorities can put up a good show against the BJP, said a party leader from the state.

On Wednesday, Sonia Gandhi decided to field Tariq Anwar for the Bihar Legislative Council, but Anwar could not file his nomination due to some technical reasons. Party state president Madan Mohan Jha said, “he is being replaced due to technical issues”.

Sources say that Anwar is not a voter in the state which is mandatory to become a member of the Council.

Anwar who has been in national politics for a long time has been union Minister and one of the foremost and prominent Muslim faces in the state.

A senior leader said ahead of the Bihar assembly polls that though Tariq Anwar could not file his nomination but it will boost the Congress image among the minority segment, the votes which Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has been vying for.

Sources say more leaders may be drafted into state units and this could be reverse rehabilitation in their respective states. The Madhya Pradesh government fell because of rebellion in the party ranks so now the party needs experienced hands.

Leaders of the Grand Alliance in Bihar met on Wednesday and pledged to fight the polls together and get the minority votes in the state.

The Congress has now to keep the alliance together as RJD’s Lalu Prasad is in jail after being convicted in the fodder scam.

Congress state in-charge Shakti Singh Gohil said after the Grand Alliance meet that “A preliminary meeting of six political parties was held today to discuss the issues and concerns with respect to coming Bihar election. The parties reaffirmed solidarity and assured each other that we shall work together to expose the anti-people government of Bihar.”

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