BENGALURU: Four rebel candidates of the ruling Congress, who declined to withdraw from the fray despite frantic efforts by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and KPCC president Dr G Parameshwar, would be expelled if they do not pull out of the contest on Saturday, the last day for withdrawal of nominations for polls to the Legislative Council. Sources in the state unit of Congress said senior leaders have arrived at a consensus to expel these rebels – one in Bengluru (Urban) and three in Udupi-Dakshina Kannada – if they do not fall in line on Saturday. In fact, the leaders have already warned these rebels of tough action in the form of expulsion.
Meanwhile, the leaders asked one candidate in Hubbali-Dharwad to withdraw from contest at the 11th-hour because they were apprehensive that the party would not be able to pull off victory in both constituencies. This was the lone district where the party issued two “B” forms unlike four other districts where the leaders chose to field single candidates.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, a senior leader said: “Efforts are still underway to persuade four rebels but all of them – former minister K. Jayaprakash Hegde, Mr Dayananda Reddy, MLC, Udupi DCC president Bhujanga Shetty, and Billava strongman Harikrishna Bantwala – are proving to be tough nuts. In Udupi, it an embarrassment for the party because veterans like Oscar Fernandes, B Janardhan Poojary and M. Veerappa Moily started their political career.”
The leader said that the presence of Mr Bantwal, a close aide of Mr Poojary, Mr Shetty, District Congress Committee president, had complicated matters in Udupi- Dakshina Kannada. “All rebels in Udupi-Dakshina Kannada have put forth a single demand that the party should not field MLC, Pratapchandra Shetty, MLC, who happens to be a staunch supporter of Mr Fernandes in the district,” the leader added.
Siddaramaiah: We know our party’s strength, can win 20 seats
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has expressed confidence that the Congress party will all the 20 seats of the total 25 in which they have fielded candidates. He was speaking to reporters on his arrival here at Lalit Mahal Helipad on Friday. When asked about BJP leaders V. Somanna and Jagadish Shettar challenging the Congress saying the party will not win more seats than in the past, he said, “We know our strengths. We can win all 20 seats.” About rebels in the Congress, he said there are four, including Jayaprakash Hegde and Dayanand Reddy. “We have asked them to withdraw. We are hoping they withdraw.” On two candidates contesting on a Congress ticket in Dharwad, he said, “One of them will withdraw.” Asked if he would participate in the Council poll campaign he said, “I will do it wherever possible. Tomorrow I am taking part in a campaign in Mysuru.” On whether he had compelled ministers to ensure that the candidates entrusted to them would win, he said, “All have been given the responsibility of ensuring the victory of our candidates,” he said.
On the allegation of BJP that the government was interfering in reservation process for TP and ZP polls, he said that party has made it a habit to make false allegations. He denied any delay in sending the state’s list for Padma Vibhushan awards and said, “It reached on time.”
Download the all new Deccan Chronicle app for Android and iOS to stay up-to-date with latest headlines and news stories in politics, entertainment, sports, technology, business and much more from India and around the world.