With an aim to make Karnataka Congress a “cadre-based party”, KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar has commenced the process of revamping various cells of the party and strengthening ties with various professional bodies, including doctors and lawyers.
With the mantra of collective leadership, Mr. Shivakumar has decided to accommodate both young and experienced leaders by assigning them responsibilities of different departments/cells based on their interest and strength, sources in the party said.
In a first move, the AICC, in consultation with Mr. Shivakumar, has appointed new chairman to six major departments, including media and communication, information technology and data cell. While former Legislative Council Chairman B.L. Shankar is the new chairman and former council chairman, V.R. Sudarshan is co-chairman of the media and communication department. Former Minister Priyank Kharge is in charge of IT and data cell.
Former MP V.S. Ugrappa is the chairman of the legal reforms department. The leaders have been holding consultations on a regular basis with legal cell on various matters, sources said.
While former Minister K.J. George has been given charge of the party’s properties and assets across the State, former Minister Ramalinga Reddy has been told to look after the party’s properties and assets in Bengaluru. Ponnanna has been asked to head the legal human rights and RTI department.
Besides four organisations — Youth Congress, Mahila Congress, NSUI and Congress Sevadal — the party has 18 cells/departments. The cells include INTUC, Minority, Backward Class, SC and ST, Kisan and Khet Mazdur, labour, professional, graduates and teachers, handicap, policy research and training, fisheries. In order to bring more energy to these cells, the party has been identifying new faces to lead the cadre from the front, sources said. Heads of all cells have been told to work in tandem with the KPCC and not with their heads in Delhi.
To develop strong ties with doctors, particularly during this COVID-19 pandemic, the party has launched an “Arogya Hasta” programme and this would undertake activities under the party’s doctor’s cell. Under this programme, one or two doctors in each constituency would implement the programme with the support of local party workers. After experimenting the “Arogya Hasta” in BTM and Jayanagar constituencies, the party has decided to extend this programme across the State. Mr. Shivakumar has already extended support to ASHA workers and wrote to Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa to increase their monthly salary from ₹3,000 to ₹12,000.
To contain dissidence, Mr. Shivakuamar constituted a 13-member disciplinary committee headed by former Union Minister K. Rehman Khan.