BENGALURU: Congress believes it has won round one by successfully thwarting the alleged attempts of its rival BJP to lure Housing Minister M Krishnappa, his son MLA Priya Krishna and Udupi district in-charge minister Pramod Madhwaraj. Krishnappa and Madhwaraj, who attended a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and KPCC president G Parameshwara to review poll preparations on Wednesday, declared that they would not change their loyalties and would remain in Congress.
Reports of the duo’s alleged parleys with BJP leadership had put the Congress in a spot and speculations were rife on Wednesday about Madhwaraj having met BJP top brass in Delhi.Siddaramaiah, who was worried following the reports of BJP’s alleged attempts to poach Krishnappa and Madhwaraj, did some plain speaking at the meeting, according to sources. He convinced Madhwaraj about Congress putting up a good show in the coastal region this time too and not to be bothered about his winning chances in Udupi. He also asked him not to succumb to the alleged pressure tactics of BJP.
Siddaramaiah is said to have assured a rightful place and respect for Krishnappa in the party befitting his stature.Krishnappa, who represents Vijayanagar constituency in Bengaluru, was said to be miffed after he was sidelined during AICC president Rahul Gandhi’s recent visit to Mandya. He was not allowed to share the dais with Rahul though he was the district in-charge minister while Energy minister and Vokkaliga strongman D K Shivakumar hogged the limelight.
Krishnappa too belongs to the Vokkaliga community and BJP is keen to net strong Vokkaliga leaders from other parties to strengthen its base among the community. The party recently inducted independent MLA from Channapatna C P Yogeshwar.
BJP is wooing Krishnappa and his son Priya Krishna, MLA from Govindarajana Nagar, keeping caste calculations in mind. However, according to sources, Krishnappa, who is one of the richest politicians in the state with a huge presence in the real estate business in Bengaluru, had his own reasons to cosy-up to BJP after the IT raid on Shivakumar.
Reports of Pramod Madhwaraj joining BJP were doing the rounds for a long time and it gained strength when he launched his campaign without the photographs of Rahul Gandhi on his campaign vehicle.
Siddaramaiah reportedly took up the issue directly with Krishnappa and Pramod Madhwaraj on Wednesday. Krishnappa made it clear that he would remain in Congress. Madhwaraj too scotched the reports.