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There is need to change style of coalition functioning, Cong

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Press Trust of India Bengaluru
Wary about its image having taken a hit after the Lok Sabha poll rout, the Congress in Karnataka told chief minister H D Kumaraswamy about the need to change style of functioning of the ruling coalition, top party sources said Thursday.
The Congress, the senior coalition partner with JDS, has held discussions with Kumaraswamy about protecting the image of the government and changes that need to be brought about in its style of functioning in the backdrop of negative perception, they said.
"Our Ministers will have to work more actively, bygoing to people for this," party sources said.
The Congress leadership has also asked its leaders not tomake any public statements on sensitive issues like giving "religious minority" status to the Lingayat faith, among others, an issue that had cost the party dearly in the 2018 assembly polls.
"It was made clear during a recent meeting that theissue was before the central government now, let communitytake up the issue, but party should not be involved," sources said, adding that on sensitive matters related to government or coalition, leaders should not make remarks openly.
In its worst ever performance in Karnataka, the Congress had managed to win only one out of the 21 seats it had contested while the JD(S) won one out of seven seats it contested.
The BJP swept the polls bagging 25 out of 28 seats.
Congress and JD(S) which faced the Lok Sabha polls in alliance according to coalition arrangement had decidedto contest 21 and seven seats respectively.
Though a section within the party wants Congress to be "more assertive" in the coalition government, many feel that regular discussions with JD(S) was the only option and there was no other way.
There have been voices within Congress blaming the alliance with JD(S) for its debacle in the polls.
Several senior Congress leaders including Veerappa Moily and K H Muniyappa have blamed the alliance and opposition within the Congress for their defeat in Lok Sabha polls.
Sources said, there is also some kind of acceptance within the party that internal opposition led to the defeat of a few Congress candidates in the polls.
Conceding that the cadre base of the party has kind of gone into a "depression" and lost enthusiasm due to the results, and because of alliance in certain parts like old Mysuru region, they said, party leadership has to work towards motivating by reaching out and working amidst them.
On repeated speculation about the longevity of the coalition government and mid-term polls, sources said, one cannot predict what would happen when, but party is cautious that it should not be responsible for any such eventuality.
"Government will stay and continue, as there is noother alternative that is visible for now, and no one wants elections with the fear of loss," they said, adding that disgruntlement or dissidence within the party would not have any impact on the government.
According to top party sources, KPCC that is being reconstituted would be "thin", with about 70-75 office bearers, for which hectic lobby is under way.
The previous PCC that was dissolved had close to 300 office bearers.
In a major move after the rout in the Lok Sabha polls, the AICC on June 19 had announced its decision to dissolve the KPCC, while retaining its President and working President.
Loyalty and commitment would be the major criteria while constituting the new team and there would be naturally more younger representation, though some people would be from the old team, who have been effectively working, sources said.
The plan is to appoint office bearers, strictly adhering to merit, without buckling under pressure, sources said, adding, the party leadership even expects some amount of "pushback".
AICC General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka K C Venugopal Wednesday had said that the PCC would be reconstituted in three weeks time.

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First Published: Jun 27 2019 | 8:25 PM IST

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