Congress leaders close ranks for a cause

Key leaders share platform for Mekedatu

Sangama — the confluence of Cauvery and Arkavathi rivers in Kanakapura taluk of Ramanagaram district, near here —seems to have brought together rival leaders in Congress, who on Sunday sent out a strong message of unity.

The Mekedatu padayatra, seeking early implementation of the project, brought together Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah and KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar — both seen as contenders for the Chief Minister’s post, and Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha M. Mallikarjun Kharge on the same platform.

Seen as an event that is a precursor before the poll bugle is blown, the padayatra brought several ambitious party leaders from Bombay Karnataka, Kalyana Karnataka, and coastal Karnataka regions of the State together.

The event brought former KPCC chiefs R.V. Deshpande in whose tenure Mr. Siddaramaiah took off the padayatra to Ballari against illegal mining, and G. Parameshwara in whose term the Ballari to Kudalasangama padayatra had been taken out, were also present along with the three current working presidents of the party and a host of legislators and former legislators. Former Chief Minister M. Veerappa Moily was also present.

Multiple Congress sources in the run-up to the padayatra had told The Hindu that both Mr. Siddaramaiah and Mr. Shivakumar had realised the importance of remaining united to come to power. “Both have the bitter experience of power sharing with the Janata Dal (Secular) after the Congress headed by Mr. Siddaramaiah lost power. The selection of the Chief Minister is only after the victory in the election and both are looking to put up a joint fight for that victory in the Assembly elections in 2023,” said a senior leader.

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