How Rahul’s confidante Surjewala delivered K’taka to Cong by bringing Siddaramaih, Shivakumar together

New Delhi: Even as the Congress is headed for another historic win in Karnataka after 1999, the party on Saturday credited the victory in the southern state to its united face in the high-octane battle where Rahul Gandhi’s close confidante Randeep Singh Surjewala played a key role.

The Congress, which was worried over the two factions in the state ahead of the crucial assembly polls in the southern state, managed to hold its fort altogether.

The Congress, which had won 80 seats in the 2018 assembly polls in the state and formed the government in alliance with the JD-S which had won 37 seats, was sent out of power after many of the JD-S MLAs deserted the party and joined the BJP.

Following the toppling of the government in the southern state, the Congress appointed party general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala, a close confidante of Rahul Gandhi, as the party’s in-charge of the state and he was tasked to unite the two factions and power houses of the state — former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and state unit chief DK Shivakumar.

A party leader said that Surjewala after being appointed as the state in-charge spent maximum of his time in the southern state and did his best to bring the two leaders together ahead of the crucial assembly polls, thus giving a signal of the united party Karnataka.

The party leader further said that Surjewala’s work started paying dividends when the Basavaraj Bommai-led Karnataka government faced the charges of alleged corruption last year, as he brought both the leaders together to attack the ruling party on graft charges.

Surjewala, who was earlier the party’s communication in-charge, also used his experience in Karnataka as he made both the leaders to speak on the issue of corruption, which helped the party in cornering the BJP in the southern state.

The results of his work started to look more visible when the party launched the ‘PayCM’ campaign in the state with Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar both targeting the BJP government in the state.

Even when Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra entered Karnataka on September 30 last year, Surjewala managed to bring both the leaders walk altogether with the Gandhi scion in the state.

He said, during the yatra, Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar both shared a close bonding with each other, which further boosted the party’s prospects in the state. Surjewala also kept on sharing the videos of the Bharat Jodo Yatra where both the leaders discussed in length about the yatra in the state with Rahul Gandhi, and the aspirations of the Karnataka people.

The party leader said Surjewala also from time to time kept on sharing the photographs of both the leaders in the public domain to give a clear-cut message of the party’s unity in the state.

The party leader said that Surjewala was also instrumental in designing the campaign and bringing up the five guarantees in the party’s manifesto after a detailed discussion with the state leadership and also played a crucial role along with state unit leaders for bringing two top BJP leaders — Jagadish Shettar and Laxman Savadi — into the Congress fold ahead of the crucial assembly polls.

By the time of filing this report, the Congress had won 129 seats while the party was leading on seven seats whereas the ruling BJP won 60 and was leading on five seats. The JD-S also won 19 seats.

The polling for the 224-member Karnataka assembly took place on May 10.

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