MANGALURU: Janardhana Poojary, veteran Congress leader in Mangaluru, and former Union minister, threatened to become a rebel candidate if the Congress party decided to give a ticket to M N Rajendra Kumar, the chairman of the South Canara District Central Cooperative (SCDCC) Bank, a leading cooperative bank in the region, alleging that Rajendra has corruption cases against him. The Congress leader's charges are based on media reports.
Addressing media persons here on Thursday, Poojary, who turned 81 this year, expressed his desire to contest the elections from Dakshina Constituency on a Congress ticket again. He has been a Lok Sabha MP for four continuous terms since 1977 before losing to BJP's V Dhananjay Kumar. Poojary couldn't win from the constituency again in consecutive elections in spite of his best efforts.
“I am going to Delhi to meet Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to ask a ticket for me and even if I am not given, I won't accept the ticket to Rajendra and will express my protest to the high command”, he said. When asked about his grounds of opposition to Rajendra Kumar, Poojary said that he had fought against corruption life long and that Rajendra has swindled people's money as reported in the media. “I have believed media reports for life and will continue to do so till my death. There are many aspirants from Congress here and I am told that Rajendra is lobbying for a ticket and his name is one among the candidates,” he rued.
The veteran leader also expressed his displeasure about Ivan D'Souza, another aspirant from the Congress party, being given a ticket for Lok Sabha elections.
M N Rajendra Kumar, as the chairman of SCDCC Bank, has led the cooperative bank for a long period of 25 years, which is being hailed as a unique feat for any cooperative leader. It could be recalled that SCDCC bank office bearers took out a massive show of strength in Mangaluru in January this year, in view of Rajatha Sambhrama or the silver jubilee of his chairmanship, attracting crowds from entire Coastal and Malnad region. At this time, rumours over him eying a seat in elections were galore.