'Siddaramaiah front-runner for CM's post'
Bengaluru: Karnataka PCC working president Dinesh Gundu Rao on Monday said he was confident about Congress returning to power in the May 12 state assembly polls.
Incumbent Siddaramaiah will be the "front-runner" for the Chief Minister's post, he said.
Asserting that there was no anti-incumbency against the Siddaramaiah government, he took a dig at BJP, saying its president Amith Shah is becoming a "star campaigner" for the ruling party.
He also raised questions about Prime Minister Narendera Modi's "absence from campaigning." "Congress is going for election under the leadership of Chief Minister, it has been stated. It is under his leadership entire campaign is being run...he is the face of the election, he is the captain of our team," Rao told PTI.
"CM will be decided after the election, if we win, CLP will meet and decide, but he (Siddaramaiah) is the captain of our team, so obviously if we win again, he will be the front-runner," he said.
Rao, however, did not wish to respond whether Congress' decision not to announce chief ministerial candidate was to avoid any divisions or conflict within the party, with KPCC president G Parameshwara also seen as a serious contender for the top job. Though the party has not announced any chief ministerial candidate, it has named Siddaramaiah as its face. Rao said he was confident about the Congress performing better than it did during the 2013 assembly polls, when it won 122 out of 224 seats.
"I think we will do better than last time, because last time was election based upon anti or negative BJP (wave)...this time in the election people are not only unhappy with BJP, but they are happy with the Congress in Karnataka."
Rao also claimed that there was no anti-incumbency, adding, instead, "there is pro-incumbency."
"We will improve than last time, but we will have to get the ticket distribution every thing done correctly."
"We should see to it that deserving people get the ticket, if we do that correctly, then I think definitely there will be no other problem," he said.
When it was pointed out that after 1985 no party in the state has been able to retain power consecutively, he observed that they were unable to come back due to reasons like division or dissidents within the party.
However, there was nothing of that sort this time, he said.
"We have given a very stable, good government, and have delivered on our promises which has reached the people.
This is a pro-incumbency government, people are preferring us to other parties," he said. Ruling out "Modi wave", Rao said the "Modi factor or phenomenon is going down, because people are not seeing tangible results."
He pointed out that Modi has not come to Karnataka for the last one-and-half months and has been cancelling his programmes.