Last of Lingayats desert Congress
Belgaum: The Congress could have a tough time in a number of constituencies with a strong Lingayat presence these elections as some of its most influential leaders in north Karnataka are staying away from electioneering in protest against their nominees being denied party tickets.
The Congress campaign has been largely dull in Belgaum and Haveri constituencies with a section of leaders, including Mr H.K. Patil, keeping away from it.
A recognised mass leader of north Karnataka, Mr Patil’s lack of interest could hurt the Congress badly in these Lingayat dominated constituencies. Mr Patil is said to have lobbied for a ticket for his brother, D.R. Patil, a popular figure in Haveri, but was ignored.
Former MP, I G Sanadi has also not campaigned as his son was denied the party ticket. The situation is even worse in Belgaum where most of the top party leaders, mostly Lingayats, are reluctant to join Laxmi Hebbalkar's campaign. While some are outright against her, others are being neutral, only hinting at their support for BJP's Suresh Angadi.
Missing from the Congress campaign here are S.B. Sidnal and A.K. Kotrashetty, MLA V.S. Koujalgi, former MP, Amarsing Patil, former minister A.B. Patil, and powerful local leaders like Anil Potdar and Shivangouda Patil.