TUMAKURU: The Congress-JD(S) alliance can finally heave a sigh of relief in Tumakuru with the rebel candidates — sitting MP SP Muddahanumegowda and former Madhugiri MLA KN Rajanna — withdrawing from the fray on Friday.While JD(S) supremo and former PM H D Deve Gowda is the coalition candidate from Tumkur for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, BJP has fielded former MP G S Basavaraju.
On behalf of Muddahanumegowda, his loyalist Rayasandra Ravikumar, withdrew the nomination papers, while Rajanna personally visited the Mini Vidhana Soudha here and withdrew the papers from the returning officer at 2.30 pm on Friday.The pressure exerted by former CM Siddaramaiah, KPCC chief Dinesh Gundu Rao and Deputy CM G Parameshwara yielded results in favour of Deve Gowda only after Congress president Rahul Gandhi spoke to Muddahanumegowda over phone with a promise of “safeguarding” him for backing out.
“What was the promise... we do not know... Rahul Gandhi has realised that injustice was meted out to Muddahanume Gowda,” Rayasandra Ravikumar said.The Vokkaliga community leaders of JD(S) led by Small Scale Industries Minister S R Srinivas had also called on Muddahanume Gowda and urged him to withdraw from the fray.
According to sources, Muddahanume Gowda took the decision after holding talks with his supporters as he was convinced that his image would take a beating if he “rebels” against Deve Gowda — a stalwart Vokkaliga leader. Also, the pressure from the party top brass forced him to withdraw from the fray, sources added.
Rajanna, a staunch Siddaramaiah supporter, also withdrew his papers without a second thought as he had plans to support Muddahanume Gowda only if the latter was firm in contesting the polls. “We were not worried much about the rebellion as it was left to the Congress leadership to quell it. We, however, express our gratitude to Congress leaders. It will serve the larger interest of the alliance ... defeating the common enemy — the BJP,” former MLC and JD(S) spokesperson Ramesh Babu told TNIE.
He hoped that both Muddahanume Gowda and Rajanna will campaign for Gowda.
Meanwhile, the “rebels” withdrawing from the fray created ripples in the BJP camp.
“Now, we will have to go the extra mile and work out a different strategy,” said Vishwanath, a BJP leader and the brother-in-law of former LS deputy speaker S Mallikarjunaiah.