Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will lead the Congress Party in the 2018 assembly elections, while the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) will work hard to ensure that the government's achievements are made known at the grassroots.
On Thursday evening, soon after AICC vice president Rahul Gandhi held the first meeting with the Karnataka Congress leaders including AICC general secretary K.C. Venugopal, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, KPCC chief Parameshwara, KPCC working presidents Dinesh Gundu Rao and S.R. Patil to discuss the poll strategy, the leaders of the party, though riddled with factionalism, put up a united face. They reasserted that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will lead the party in the upcoming polls.
The infighting between the KPCC chief G. Parameshwara and the chief minister had become public this week when the KPCC chief issued a counter to the chief minister's repeated claims that he would lead the 2018 polls. Parameshwar had claimed that the polls would be fought under "collective leadership". He found support from veteran leaders who reminded that the Congress party never projected any leader as the chief ministerial candidate prior to the polls and it was the prerogative of the Congress legislature to take a call on that, post-elections.
With the Congress's earlier mass outreach programmes like Mane Manege Congress campaign failing to evoke huge response and the lack of enthusiasm among legislators and ministers to take to social media in a big way, the party leadership is banking on conventional ways of reaching out to the voter.
"The party and the government will take out two separate rallies in November and distribute 1.2 crore booklets on the government's achievements. Siddaramaiah will lead the party this elections," said Parameshwara.
To counter the BJP wave, as the saffron party is pitching for an aggressive mode of campaign, the Congress is banking on strengthening the booth committees.
"We already have 54,000 booth committees and hope to distribute booklets listing our achievements through the booth level workers," said Siddaramaiah adding that he plans to tour the state in December and January.
While the ticket aspirants are already making a beeline to the party office, the CM asserted that the tickets will be distributed by December based on the feedback from party workers. "We also plan to change district presidents in some places," said Siddaramaiah.