Dinesh Gundu Rao, the son of former Chief Minister Gundu Rao, and a former minister in Karnataka’s Congress government, was recently named the Karnataka Congress Working president, the second highest party post in the state below that of the president.
The state Congress party president’s post is also up for grabs, as G. Paramehswara, the incumbent has joined the Government as the state’s home minister during the last reshuffle. For the moment however, the Congress high command has kept the appointment on hold, effectively giving the reins of the party in the state to Rao.
The decision took a while coming, and whether the television friendly, articulate and young Rao will prove the right choice to manage the turbulent political scene in the state for the party, only time will tell.
That said, Rao is expected to draw inspiration from his glorious lineage and use his considerable communication skillsto lift the image of the Congress party in the state, which in the eyes of the opposition has taken a beating following recent controversies over the suicides of police personnel and farmers, the LokAyuktha and the ACB, the examination papers leaks and the like. These controversies have provided a boost to the opposition and dampened the spirit of the Congress supporters.
Firstly, congratulations on being elected as the Working President of the KPCC. What is the next plan of action from your end?
My aim, as said earlier is to fortify the party and improve the co-ordination between the party and the government and propagate our party's achievements to the common man.Secondly, I want to make sure that the party is equipped to counter the communal divisive agenda of the BJP, which has been sensationalising non-issues and distracting people's attention to reap political benefits.
The Congress party seems to have woken up to the situation and realized that the Assembly polls are just round the corner and the DySPGanapathi suicide case can spoil the party. Is this realization making you speak to party workers?
The SanghParivar and the BJP have made a big hue and cry about DySPGanapathi suicide case. They have been trying to take full advantage of the situation by misleading the people, floating wrong information. They are making it seem as though the Congress government may collapse any time. Instead of paying the oppositions with the same coin, we at the Congress house decided to motivate our partyworkers by talking to them about our achievements and success stories and the pro-people schemes that government has brought in. We do not believe in an eye for an eye policy.
What is your opinion on the recent DySPGanapathy suicide case and the deadlock that the issue created in the Assembly?
When we were in opposition, we had recommended 13 cases be handed over to the CBI, including the mining scam, but not even one was forwarded. As ruling party now and despite the fact that the NDA is in power at the centre, we have referred eight cases to the CBI.
See the difference, we in the opposition never posed impediments for functioning of the Assembly to get our demands met because we understand that the role of the opposition is to be constructive. I do not believe that anarchy should take over at any given point of time, no matter how serious the issue is.
ADGP A.M.Prasad’s name has figured in the case of M.K.Ganapathy’s suicide. Incidentally last year ADGP Ravindranath had also publically accused A.M.Prasadof harassing him as well? Is the government looking for evidence in black and white?
What is required is substantial evidence to prove the abetment to suicide charge. Transfer and promotion issues cannot be abetment to suicide. A police officer's job is not an easy job and they come under a lot of pressure. Suicide is an extreme step taken under extreme circumstances. Only an inquiry will prove it. A police officer ordering an inquiry against another junior police officer cannot become abetment to suicide.
There is a belief that the entire police department has been saffronised. Do you co-relate the recent developments to the same belief, especially with instances of suicide reportedly due to harassment taking place under the Congress regime?
I don’t believe in it. There is absolutely no connection between the two. We have trust in our police department. They work under immense pressure-both personal as well as professional (even political, he admits). We are only here to find ways to improve their working conditions.There is no truth in the claim that the department is saffronised.
Many feel that the Congress is one party which has more leaders than party workers. Isn't that a major cause of concern?
We neither have dearth of party workers nor leaders. There are adequate numbers of dedicated party workers at the grassroots levels as well as upper levels. The fact that four to five time MLAs of the party have come from grassroots level, speaks eloquently about the growth prospects within the party cadres. At both the state and national-level we have able leaders who have proven their mettle. As of now, what is important is to bring in co-ordination and we, as a party will work towards the same.
What does the future of the Congress government and the party look like to you in the state?
Today, a section of people who were swayed away by the flowery claims of Prime Minister NarendraModi too have realised that those were only words which did not translate into actions. They have also realised that the 130-year-old Congress party, which has been built on strong ideals is the only party that can take on the communally divisive BJP. The country needs the Congress and we will only do well.