Bengaluru: day after Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) leaders spoke of unity and the need for a joint campaign to win the Lok Sabha polls, former CM and Congress Legislature Party(CLP) leader Siddaramaiah faced a major embarrassment after Hassan Congress leaders refused to work for Prajwal Revanna, son of PWD Minister H.D. Revanna who is contesting on the JD(S) ticket from Hassan.
A special meeting of Congress and JD(S) leaders has now been convened on Thursday to resolve all pending issues and Mr Revanna too has been asked to participate in the meeting.
On Monday, Congress President Rahul Gandhi had reportedly directed Mr Siddaramaiah to hold talks with the factions within the party who are reluctant to work wherever the JD(S) has been allotted seats. As per Mr Gandhi's direction, Mr Siddaramaiah convened a meeting of senior Congress leaders of Hassan at his official residence here to convince them to work jointly with the JD(S).
A shock was in store for the former CM as the majority of leaders flatly refused to work with the JD(S). They contended that JD(S) leaders had backstabbed many Congress candidates in previous Assembly elections, including Mr Siddaramaiah himself. The Congress workers were even intimidated by Mr Revanna and false cases were booked against them, they claimed wondering how state Congress leaders could expect them to work for Prajwal.
The Congress leaders recalled that contractors were harassed by Mr Revanna who had reportedly warned them that unless they joined hands with JD (S) leaders, their bills would not be settled. Mr Mallesh, a Congress leader said Mr Prajwal was not even a gram panchayat or zilla panchayat member and was being fielded directly for the Lok Sabha polls. Their conscience did not permit them to work for a 'boy' who wants to become MP without basic knowledge, he said.
The Hassan Congressmen felt the party should have retained the Hassan seat and fielded a candidate. Already, the Congress party has been wiped out in eight districts in the old Mysuru region and it would lose its identity if the JD(S) was indirectly promoted in the name of preventing the ‘communal’ BJP from coming to power, they warned.
Sources said Mr Siddaramaiah was shocked to see the anger on the faces of his partymen and tried to explain the circumstances under which the seat had been given to the JD(S). Not ready to listen to anything, the local leaders told him that they would not work for Prajwal at any cost. "Can we show our face before the people and ask them to vote for the JD(S) whom we fought tooth and nail in the 2018 Assembly polls? The JD(S) leaders will become more powerful if they retain the Hassan seat and the Congress will lose its sway in the district forever".