Siddaramaiah was the Congress Legislative Party leader during the tenure of the erstwhile Congress-JDS coalition government. (Photo Credit: PTI)
Just a day before the beginning of the Winter Session, Congress has appointed former chief minister Siddaramaiah as Leader of Opposition in Karnataka Assembly.
"Congress president has appointed Siddaramaiah as leader of the opposition in the Legislative Assembly and S R Patil as leader of opposition in the Legislative Council in Karnataka with immediate effect," a party statement said.
Siddaramaiah now ceases to be a member of the Congress Working Committee, the highest decision-making body of the party.
"The party appreciates the contribution of Shri Siddaramaiah as member of the Congress Working Committee," the party statement further said.
Earlier, factionalism in the Karnataka unit of the Congress came to the fore when a meeting was convened by senior party leader Madhusudan Mistry to decide the leader of the opposition.
Besides former chief minister Siddaramaiah, who was the Congress Legislative Party leader during the tenure of the erstwhile Congress-JDS coalition government, former minister HK Patil and former deputy Chief Minister Dr G Parameshwara were among those who laid claim for the post, the sources said.
While some legislators backed Siddaramaiah as the opposition leader, others objected to it, especially former Lok Sabha member KH Muniyappa.
After the meeting Patil told reporters that Mistry had a discussion with the leaders on selecting the Congress leader in the Assembly as well as strengthening the organisation and internal democracy.
Asked whether long time Congress workers would be given preference, former Lok Sabha member KH Muniyappa took a dig at Siddaramahiah, who joined the party from JDS, asking how was he expected to respond when a 'newcomer' was made chief minister.
Siddaramaiah was previously with the JDS and joined the Congress after he was expelled from the party.
Muniyappa's differences with the former Chief Minister widened recently when the two had a bitter verbal spat at a recent meeting.
A former union minister, Muniyappa reportedly accused Siddaramaiah of hatching a conspiracy to defeat him in the recent Lok Sabha election from Kolar.