New Delhi, July 13 (IANS) The Congress Saturday announced setting up of a panel for coordination between the party and the government in Karnataka, a step seen in political circles in the state as a move to rein in Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh, who is also incharge of party affairs in Karnataka, will head the committee, Siddaramaiah and state Congress chief G. Parameshwara told reporters here separately.
The two were here to attend the meeting of Congress chief ministers and state Congress heads called by party president Sonia Gandhi on implementation of food security ordinance.
The demand for a coordination committee was sought by a section of Karnataka Congress leaders upset at what they claimed was Siddaramaiah's tendency to take unilateral decisions to take credit for himself at the cost of the organisation.
Giving voice to the demand, veteran state Congress leader and former union minister M. V. Rajashekaran had written a letter to Gandhi last month seeking early setting up of a coordination panel.
While Siddaramaiah said that the panel will have five members, Parameshwara said there could be eight members.
Siddaramaiah said while Singh will head the panel, he, Parameshwara and nominee each of the Congress legislature party and the party organisation will be the members.
Parameshwara said besides these five, the Congress central leadership may nominate three members.
The demand for such a panel followed Siddaramaiah announcing several popular schemes even before the formation of the ministry.
Among the schemes he announced May 13, soon after taking over as chief minister, a scheme for providing up to 30 kg rice at Re.1 a kg to benefit nearly 10 million below poverty line (BPL) families in the state.
The scheme was, however, launched across the state only July 10.
Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and Janata Dal-Secular have been taunting Siddarmaiah that efforts were on in his party to rein him in.
However Siddaramaiah and Parameshwara have been asserting that such panels have been set up in all Congress-ruled states and hence should not be seen as an attempt to keep the chief minister under leash.
Siddaramaiah joined the Congress only in 2007 after being in the Janata Parivar for over two decades.