BENGALURU: As elections near, faultlines are showing up in the Congress, with challengers staking claim to party tickets against established candidates, and even sitting MLAs. Congress MLA Durgappa Hoolgeri is waging a tough battle against former minor irrigation department secretary K Rudraiah, who is trying to unseat him in Lingasugur.
Driving around the streets in hot and dusty Lingasugur, Rudraiah told TNIE that he has sensed good support on the ground and also from the Congress leadership. Rudraiah has been visiting the constituency regularly for the past two months and meeting the voters.
MLA Hoolgeri told TNIE that he has confidence in the party's high command’s decision. He has informed CLP leader Siddaramaiah, PCC chief DK Shivakumar, and AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge about it. “Once the tickets are announced, the issue will be sorted out,’’ Hoolgeri said hopefully.
Last time, Durgappa Hoolgeri won by about 5,000 votes. JDS’ Bandi Siddu came in second while Manappa Vajjal of the BJP finished third. With six months to go, and the two aspirants locked in battle, their political opponents are watching quietly and waiting for a chance.
This is not the only case. In Chickpet, KGF Babu alias Scrap Babu is challenging RV Devaraj. Even after the leadership was informed, tough action was not taken against Babu. Kalghatagi has also seen a standoff between two powerful candidates, Santosh Lad and Nagaraj Chebbi, which has reached the leadership.
Many other constituencies have more than one strong candidate: Kollegal, where the Congress was drubbed by the BJP in the local municipal elections, has two strong candidates.
Asked about challengers in so many seats, PCC Working President Saleem Ahmed said, “In some constituencies, existing leaders are being disturbed. We will call for a meeting of KPCC president DK Shivakumar and CLP leader Siddaramaiah and set things right. We are planning to finalise about 150 tickets by December, and with the ticket announcement, the issue will be sorted out completely.’’
SIDDU ANTI-HINDU, CELEBRATED TIPU JAYANTI, SAYS KATEEL
State BJP president Nalin Kumar Kateel on Friday accused former chief minister Siddaramaiah of betraying the people of the state by celebrating Tipu Jayanthi.
“The issue led to a confrontation causing the death of three persons. During the Siddaramaiah rule, 3,000 farmers committed suicide and 24 Hindu activists were killed,” he said.
Siddaramaiah did not exhibit the courage to arrest those behind the brutal attack on MLA Tanveer Sait and withdrew cases against PFI, he alleged. Siddaramaiah is anti-Hindu as he wanted to withdraw the cow slaughter Bill and anti-conversion law, he added. He accused JDS senior leader HD Kumaraswamy of playing the caste card to come back to power.
“But when he comes to power, he rules the state from five-star hotels. Instead of wiping the tears of farmers Kumaraswamy as a chief minister was shedding tears, saying Siddaramaiah was not allowing him to continue in power,” Kateel said.