Congress appoints Shivakumar chief of party’s Karnataka unit
The Congress party on Wednesday named D.K. Shivakumar as the president of its Karnataka unit, three months after Dinesh Gundu Rao quit the post in the wake of the party’s poor showing in the December by-elections.

“Honourable Congress President has appointed PCC President and working presidents for Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC)," K.C.Venugopal, general secretary (organisation), said in a statement on Wednesday.

Shivakumar takes over at a time when the Congress is struggling to keep its flock together after successive election defeats and internal power struggles under various factions. “No power or no centre. I have made it clear that I worship the party, not some personality and will abide by this," Shivakumar said on Wednesday.

The party high command has retained Siddaramaiah as leader of the Opposition and Congress legislature party leader. The two leaders are known to nurse some mutual animosity, and Shivakumar’s appointment is seen as a way of managing expectations, clipping growing factionalism and balancing caste equations to give the Congress a fighting chance against the Bharatiya Janata Party in Karnataka.

Retaining Siddaramaiah also shows that the Congress has few options to replace the Kuruba leader, who has been given repeated chances even after leading the party to three major election defeats. The party has also overlooked allegations that he had destabilized the H.D. Kumaraswamy-led coalition government.

Shivakumar, a Vokkaliga, has been in wait to take over the reins of the state unit to help end growing factionalism that led to three back-to-back election losses.

The party also named three working presidents for greater community and regional representation. Sugar baron, Satish Jarkiholi and Saleem Ahmed have been named working presidents along with Eshwar Khandre, who was already serving in this post.

Apart from Karnataka, the Congress on Wednesday announced organizational changes in Delhi appointing former MLA Anil Chaudhary as state unit chief, as well as five vice presidents.

The party had failed to open its account in two sets of Lok Sabha and assembly elections in the last six years and in the recently-concluded Delhi polls, its vote share halved to just 4.27%.

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