Amid proposals by Congress leaders in Karnataka for multiple deputy chief ministers in the state, the party's general secretary KC Venugopal issued a statement cautioning members against making public comments on the matter.
According to reports, some Congress leaders have proposed the idea of having two or three deputy chief ministers in the state. However, Venugopal's statement indicates that the party is yet to make a decision on the issue.
"The matter is under discussion. We are yet to reach a final decision. I request all party members to refrain from making any public comments on this issue at this stage," Venugopal said in the statement.
Political analysts suggest that the move to have multiple deputy chief ministers could be aimed at balancing caste equations. Karnataka has a significant population of Lingayats, Vokkaligas and Dalits, and having leaders from these communities as deputy chief ministers could help the Congress to consolidate its support base.
However, not all Congress leaders are in favour of this proposal. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a party leader said, "Multiple deputy chief ministers could lead to power struggles within the party. It's better to have one strong deputy chief minister who can work closely with the chief minister."
The Congress party currently shares power with the Janata Dal (Secular) in Karnataka. The JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy is the chief minister, while the Congress's G Parameshwara is the deputy chief minister.
The idea of multiple deputy chief ministers is not new in India. In 2019, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Uttar Pradesh had two deputy chief ministers - Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma.
According to political analyst N Bhaskara Rao, the effectiveness of having multiple deputy chief ministers depends on the political dynamics in the state. "In some states, it could help in managing caste equations. But in others, it could lead to power struggles," he said.
For now, the Congress's decision on the deputy chief minister's post in Karnataka remains a matter of speculation. With Venugopal's statement, it's clear that the party wants to handle the issue carefully and avoid any public controversy.