MYSURU: The Congress high command’s order for unity, coupled with former chief minister Siddaramaiah’s express mission in Mandya, may have failed to elicit any response from belligerent local Congress leaders. If anything, campaigning for Sumalatha is expected to take a vigorous turn over the next couple of days. Prominent leaders have already clarified that they will not campaign for coalition candidate Nikhil Kumaraswamy, or associate with JD(S) workers.
Although Siddaramaiah and Karnataka in-charge KC Venugopal held a meeting to convince them to work for the victory of Nikhil Kumaraswamy, it appears to be too little, too late, to improve the relationship between the cadres of the two parties. For the cadre, it is an unthinkable situation. Congressmen who had opposed the Janata Party and Janata Dal for decades, claim they cannot wipe out their animosity in months. Despite the Congress and JD(S) forming the government, the district has seen a series of attacks and political clashes, which is the ground reality.
The are enraged that JD(S) legislators had cancelled tenders and grants sanctioned by Congress MLAs, and re-allotted them to their own cadres. This has resulted in many clashes among the workers, which have ended up in police stations in Nagamangala, Srirangapatna, Malavalli and other constituencies.
Congress leaders from Mandya district, including N Chaluvarayaswamy and others, met Congress-JD(S) coordination committee chairman G Parameshwara to list their complaints and also sought protection for Congress workers. This was followed by a Congress delegation from Hassan, with similar charges. Nothing concrete came of the meeting as Siddaramaiah assured them he would take up the issue with the coordination committee and advised them to pull along as AICC president Rahul Gandhi wanted to concrete the alliance to defeat the BJP.
The Congress leadership’s failure to take up these issues with Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and improve harmony between the cadres of the two parties, has made them fight the local co-operative and panchayat elections with the same zeal.A former minister said that while they respect the Congress high command and Siddaramaiah, any compromise with the JD(S) at this juncture will demoralise the rank and file of the party.