BENGALURU: The fire of rebellion against Congress-JDS seat sharing and candidate selection that started in Mandya, is fast spreading into neighbouring constituencies of Mysore, Tumkur and Hassan.
The alliance and its impact has led to leaders like A Manju leaving the Congress on one hand and pushing party cadres to campaign openly for other candidates like Sumalatha Ambareesh in Mandya, on the other.
The Congress, in its attempt to quell the rebellion, even expelled its grassroot-level workers, but there seems to be little or no impact on its cadres who have decided to fight back citing ‘survival’ as their reason.
The compulsion to support a JD(S) candidate in seats like Hassan, Tumkur and Mandya, where the alliance partners have been conventional rivals, has put the workers in a spot. The rebellion is now threatening to shake the foundation of the alliance.
So much so that, JDS is willing to return the favour to Congress in Mysore. Senior leaders of the coalition, including JDS supremo H D Deve Gowda, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, Congress legislative party leader Siddaramaiah, Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, KPCC President Dinesh Gundu Rao and others have spent the weekend holding marathon meetings with both party members.
Congress has been assuring unflinching support to JDS in key seats of Mandya, Hassan and Tumkur — where Gowda’s two grandsons and he himself are contesting from — even as rebellion threatens to make matters worse.
The tempers are running high between alliance partners, with Gowda said to have expressed his disappointment to AICC President Rahul Gandhi.
“What is happening in Tumkur and Mandya is a threat to the coalition. For the coalition to work, there has to be substantial transfer of votes from Congress to JD(S), but there are two problems — workers and voters. There is no guarantee that workers will work for the coalition candidate or that the voters will vote in their favour,” pointed our A Narayana, a political analyst.
He added that the historic 2.5 lakh votes that BJP received in Mandya bypoll was a result of Congress voters transferring their vote to BJP. This time, with the entry of Sumalatha, the rebellion in Mandya received a fresh boost.
While JDS and Congress continue to bicker, BJP has been quick to utilise the opportunity. Apart from giving two Congress turncoats — A Manju and Umesh Jadhav — tickets to contest, BJP is confident that the infighting will benefit them.
“It is not a healthy alliance. No norms have been observed. How could the Congress behave in a subservient manner by giving up a seat that has a sitting MP? Even without this (infighting), we are strong but this has helped us more,” said BJP MLA Suresh Kumar.