New Delhi: The Congress is seemingly unwilling to learn from its past mistakes. Even recent ones. With the announcement of Siddaramaiah's name as the next Chief Minister of Karnataka, and DK Shivakumar as his Deputy, the grand old party is making the same mistake it had made in Rajasthan.
By trying to pander to the two powerful factions, headed by Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar, the Congress leadership has once again entrapped itself in a no-win situation.
With the evolution of two power centres over the next few months, this move could end up creating Rajasthan-like trouble for the grand old party in Karnataka, several leaders in the party feared.
Though the announcement of names finally put a lid over the crisis on who should be the Karnataka CM, over which the Congress has held numerous meetings all this week, the crisis has just been postponed to a later day by the central leadership, sources pointed out.
A mistake similar to the one committed by the party in Rajasthan is being repeated in Karnataka. "By naming two people to these sensitive and powerful positions, the Congress leadership has only tried to appease both factions. It should have given their clear backing to one leader in the state which would have helped the party in remaining united and rallying behind that leader," sources said.
By announcing the names of Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar, the party high command hopes that this truce between the two will hold till the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
There is a thought in the party that this arrangement is short-term thinking by the Congress' central leadership. The party should aim to complete its five-year term and it should back a strong leader to the helm, this accommodation of two power centres is likely to prove detrimental to the party's future, sources said.
It is not very often that a government with two power centres can complete its complete five-year term. Issues regarding control are likely to crop up regularly in the state government.
A similar experiment in Rajasthan had proved to be a disaster with the Congress high command finally having to step in and remove deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot.
"Why does the party want to create a similar situation for itself again? Sooner or later the party would need to clearly earmark who is the leader. The delay is only going to create problems for the party, " sources said.
The party is seemingly losing sight of its long-term goals. The aim should be to possess power for as long as possible. But this division is expected to further create a rift.
Similar events were witnessed in Rajasthan between Gehlot and Pilot. And a section of the party also fears that the Bharatiya Janata Party could further foment trouble between the two Congress factions and utilize the situation to its benefit.
Over the past few days, even before the grand old party had secured a clear victory in the Karnataka Assembly polls, the intense lobbying by the two factions had shattered any illusion of a united Congress.
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi set to seek his third term, it is important that the Congress holds on to power in Karnataka and aims to win more Lok sabha seats in 2024. The state elects 28 MPs to the lower house of the Parliament.
Of these, the BJP had secured 25 seats with one seat secured by an NDA ally in the 2019 general elections and the saffron unit hopes to retain its strength of seats from Karnataka in the 2024 general elections. And a strong Congress leadership in Karnataka could ensure that the BJP's plans to regain its southern citadel remain a dream.