No rift, but minor differences between CM, Param: Venugopal
Bengaluru : AICC general secretary incharge of Karnataka K C Venugopal on Tuesday downplayed the rift between Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and KPCC president G Parameshwara, while admitting “minor differences” between the two.
“There is no rift. Minor differences may be there, but that’s common in a party,” Venugopal told reporters. He said Parameshwara would not accompany Siddaramaiah on the latter’s state tour starting December 13 as it was a government event. “But the chief minister will participate in campaign events organised by the party,” he said.
Venugopal is in the city for marathon meetings spread over three days starting Tuesday.
Plaint against Rayareddi
NSUI state president Manjunatha H S submitted a petition to Venugopal against Higher Education Minister Basavaraj Rayareddi, accusing him of supporting those involved in the ‘marks card scam’ that was affecting students and universities across the state. This came up when Venugopal demanded to know why NSUI had not set up committees in colleges, to which Manjunatha blamed the ‘scam’.
According to the petition, Mysore Sales International Limited (MSIL) violated rules to “unduly favour” a private vendor in Mumbai for printing marks cards and degree certificates in September 2016, an idea the previous minister R V Deshpande had supposedly rejected.
“The actual market rate of such quality of marks cards and certificates is between Rs 8-12 each, whereas MSIL is charging Rs 36.50 plus taxes. The actual market rate for printing is Rs 4 per marks card, whereas MSIL is charging Rs 35 plus taxes,” the petition states. The NSUI has sought Venugopal’s intervention to make Rayareddi withdraw the order on the printing of marks cards.
Venugopal advised the NSUI to hold cycle rallies in all Assembly constituencies and promote government schemes for students in every college.
Both Venugopal and Parameshwara took Youth Congress leaders to task. “The BJP youth wing is aggressively staging protests, which is damaging our party’s image. You are doing nothing,” the Youth Congress was told. On the Congress’ inception day on December 28, the party asked the Youth Congress to hold 5-10 km walkathons and by January-end, hold rallies in all revenue divisions. The party’s SC/ST wing also faced the ire for not holding protests.
More women in fray?
KPCC women’s wing president Lakshmi R Hebbalkar said she was confident that the party would field women in at least 35 Assembly constituencies in the upcoming polls. “I am contesting this time. The chief minister and Parameshwara have special regard for women,” she said. MLC Motamma said she was hoping to get a ticket this time. “Most women stay away, because it is difficult for them to splurge money on campaigns,” she said.
Top leaders meet
Later in the day, Venugopal met top party leaders, except Siddaramaiah, at a private hotel to devise a strategy for winning the 100 seats that the Congress lost in the 2013 polls. Venugopal also discussed an internal report prepared on the performance of sitting MLAs. Mallikarjun Kharge, K H Muniyappa, M Veerappa Moily and others were present.