Hubballi: The rebel factor continues to haunt the Congress in Kundagol although six ticket aspirants were persuaded to withdraw their nominations in support of the party's official candidate, Kusumavathi Shivalli, wife of the late minister , C S Shivalli, for the May 19 assembly bypoll.
One of the rebels who withdrew, Shivanand Benthur, has stayed away from the campaigning protesting that he has not been given any party position as promised. Having won nearly 8,000 votes as an independent against Mr Shivalli in the 2004 Assembly poll from the constituency, he clearly feels he is being treated unjustly although ministers, D K Shivakumar and Zameer Ahmed have been doing their best to convince him otherwise. Should they not succeed the rebel factor could prove costly for the Congress given that it had won from Kundagol by a slender margin of 634 votes the last Assembly poll.
"I worked hard for C S Shivalli in all elections after 2004. Congress leaders had promised to give me a suitable position in the district party or on a board or corporation. But they have not kept their promise," Mr Benthur protests. Afraid he could mess with the party's chances, Congress leaders have intensified their campaign in the constituency with former Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah, KPCC president, Dinesh Gundu Rao, water resources minister, D K Shivakumar and others holding a rally in Shansi village recently.
JD(S) leaders, including former Kundagol legislator, M S Akki and MLC, Basavaraj Horatti too have joined hands with the Congress in the campaigning to make sure that Ms Kusumavathi Shivalli is elected in place of her late husband, riding on the sympathy factor.
The Kundagol seat fell vacant after former Minister C.S. Shivali died recently. The BJP has chosen S.I. Chikkanagouda as its candidate....