TUMAKURU: With Friday being the last day for withdrawal of nomination papers for the first phase of Lok Sabha polls in the state, the “confusion” in Tumkur constituency is also expected to end the same day.The “rebel” candidates fighting against coalition candidate HD Deve Gowda in Tumkur — sitting Congress MP SP Muddahanume Gowda and former Madhugiri MLA KN Rajanna — are likely to withdraw their papers on Friday.
Rajanna had earlier wished to back out if Muddahanume Gowda stood firm in the fray. Now, he too is likely to back out as the latter has changed his mind after former chief minister and Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah spoke to him over the phone on Thursday evening. Moreover, Muddahanume Gowda does not also want to be seen as a villain among the Vokkaligas, who are reportedly supporting Deve Gowda up to the hilt.
Earlier on Thursday, a delegation of JD(S) leaders, including Small Scale Industries Minister SR Srinivas, MLA D C Gowrishankar and MLC BEML Kantharaju called on Muddahanume Gowda at his residence in Bengaluru and appealed to him to withdraw from the fray. Though he did not commit on anything, by evening he changed his mind owing to pressure from different circles, sources said.
“He has responded positively ... he will take a decision after consulting his supporters. Former PM Deve Gowda is also likely to speak to him by Friday morning,” Gowrishankar told TNIE.When it comes to Rajanna, he has his own reasons to withdraw. The ST Nayaka leader has a command over the community in the constituency and is a supporter of Siddaramaiah.
“He wanted to support Muddahanume Gowda, if he contested, which would have helped the BJP and his goal of defeating his arch rival HD Deve Gowda would have been fulfilled,” said Puttalingaiah, a political analyst.Since he has been in good terms with BJP candidate GS Basavaraju, he wanted to help him too as the latter did not field a KJP candidate against him from Madhugiri in 2013 Assembly polls which helped him win. In 2014 LS polls, Basavaraju wanted to switch over to Congress through Siddaramaiah, but Deputy CM G Parameshwara thwarted this by fielding Muddahanume Gowda. Now the DyCM has once again shown an indication of putting up a formidable force against Basavaraju in the form of Deve Gowda, the coalition candidate.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader BK Hariprasad warned the “rebels” that if they did not withdraw their papers, they will be expelled from the party. “In the alliance, we need to sacrifice for the larger interest,” he said.