2019 LS polls: Discord in parties in Karnataka threatens to boil over

While Congress and JD(S) are struggling to keep their workers from going at each other, BJP too is having a hard time maintaining peace in the party.

Published: 31st March 2019 05:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st March 2019 05:54 AM   |  A+A-

An angry block Congress worker throws a chair while protesting against the candidature of Prajwal Revanna, in Belur on Saturday

An angry block Congress worker throws a chair while protesting against the candidature of Prajwal Revanna, in Belur on Saturday | Express

By Express News Service

BENGALURU:  With just around three weeks left for the Lok Sabha elections, JD(S)-Congress combine and the BJP are still grappling with internal problems. While the coalition partners are struggling to bring their workers together to fight the elections, some BJP leaders have openly expressed their displeasure over the selection of candidates for Bangalore South and Chikkodi seats.

Failure to bring together the coalition party workers will be a major concern in many constituencies. Transfer of votes from Congress to JD(S) is crucial for the regional party in Hassan, Mandya and Tumkur and vote transfer from JD(S) to Congress is a deciding factor in Chikkaballapur and Mysuru seats. Ensuring transfer of votes is a difficult task given the traditional rivalry between the two parties in Old Mysuru region. 

Congress workers had raised slogans against JD(S) leaders during a meeting in Arsikere on Friday and the situation further worsened on Saturday as the party workers created ruckus by throwing chairs during a meeting in Hassan.

“Leaders may talk about coalition and coordination, but it is difficult for the workers to have an understanding with their traditional rivals who are now political allies,” political analyst Prof Kiran Gajanur said. In constituencies such as Mandya, Congress workers are worried about losing their base if they work for the JD(S) candidate. It is the same situation in Hassan and Tumkur where JD(S) is likely to face some opposition from Congress workers. “Next three weeks will be crucial for the coalition partners to convince their workers,” he added.

Congress and JD(S) leaders are making attempts to control the damage to send the right message to their workers. During a meeting chaired by AICC General Secretary KC Venugopal in Bengaluru on Friday night, the party decided to assign the responsibility of ensuring proper coordination and overseeing electioneering to the Congress ministers.


“The party will take stern action against any leader working against the coalition candidates, especially against JD(S),” he warned. He also warned Congress leaders against supporting Sumalatha Ambareesh, independent candidate supported by the BJP. Sumalatha is banking on support from Congress workers in the district.

Earlier this week, JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda held a meeting with Congress candidates contesting from LS seats in the state capital and assured them of extending all possible support. He asked his party workers to extend full support to the Congress candidate. 

Meanwhile, BJP too is facing trouble from within. While many leaders had expressed their displeasure over the party denying its ticket to Tejaswini Ananth Kumar to contest from Bangalore South, senior leaders Umesh Katti and Ramesh Katti are upset as the party overlooked their request and decided to give Chikkodi LS ticket to Annasaheb Jolle. Katti brothers have decided to wait till April 4, the last date for filing nominations, before taking any action. In 2014, Ramesh Katti had lost by a narrow margin in the same constituency. The party is holding talks with the local leaders from Belagavi to resolve the issue.


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