BENGALURU: Infighting in the Congress over the Karnataka Youth Congress president’s post turned uglier on Wednesday, and is threatening to rive the party down the middle. The Youth Congress presidential elections, held on January 12, remain the sticking point to any sort of unity between the two factions, headed by Raksha Ramaiah and Mohammed Nalapad.
The election had seen a clear winner in Nalapad, but surprisingly, the party announced Raksha Ramaiah as winner. Soon after the elections, the Congress election panel, in an unprecedented move, had disqualified 47,000 votes polled by Nalapad, terming them “illegal”.
Nalapad was attacked by his own party men over his past fracas in a cafe, following which a case of criminal assault was filed against him. They termed him unfit for the post of state Youth Congress president, and justified their decision.The matter was raised by the Congress state leadership, and many leaders, who had initially hesitated to identify themselves with either Raksha or Nalapad, started giving support to either of the leaders. CLP Leader Siddaramaiah and KPCC President DK Shivakumar, who for several months had sought to remain neutral, later took position too.
The matter was hotly debated in the party, which had suggested that Raksha Ramaiah, son of Congress leader M R Seetharam, and Mohammed Nalapad, son of MLA N A Haris, share power for an equal number of months. They even decided that Ramaiah would remain president till December 2021, after which Nalapad would take charge, and Ramaiah would be moved as secretary to the Indian Youth Congress in Delhi, which is headed B V Srinivas, who hails from Karnataka.
Supporters of the two youth leaders raised the issue, which reached the ears of AICC General Secretary (Organising) KC Venugopal and General Secretary state in-charge Randeep Surjewala. They, in turn, took it up with the Congress high command, which intervened and said that given the acrimony of the entire situation, it would be best to divest both of the position, and give them other responsibilities.
The Youth Congress presidentship could go to person who came in third, which is HS Manjunath, or any other competent candidate. Manjunath, who was NSUI president, polled substantially fewer votes, but now stands a chance to head the state Youth Congress. Nalapad, too, could be accommodated suitably in the Youth Congress wing.