Bengaluru: In a major embarrassment to Congress, Tumakuru sitting Congress MP S.P. Muddahanume Gowda on Saturday announced that he will contest as a Congress candidate from the constituency, when in fact the seat has already been given to the JD(S) under the coalition arrangement. Going ahead, JD(S) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda, who had kept the suspense up till now, announced on Saturday that he will contest from the constituency and will file his nomination papers at 2 pm on March 25.
Tumakuru is one of the eight seats given to the JD(S) by the Congress as part of the pre-poll alliance. Shocked with Mr Muddahanumegowda's decision, former chief minister and Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah, KPCC president Dinesh Gundurao and KPCC working president Eshwar Khandre said that the party high command has already decided to give the Tumakuru seat to JD(S) and the sitting MP would be convinced not to contest in the interest of the party.
Chief Mnister H.D. Kumaraswamy obliquely slammed the Congress for creating confusion and said that his party has been given eight Lok Sabha seats of the total 28 as part of pre-poll alliance and JD(S) candidates will be fielded in all those constituencies. “Now, it is up to Congress leaders to handle the issue. The JD(S) is not afraid of going alone in the LS polls since it too has a good support to win the election on its own," he thundered.
Now, the Congress faces the daunting task of convincing Mr Muddahanumegowda to reconsider his decision and to uphold the 'coalition dharma'. After leaving Hassan seat to his grandson, Mr Prajwal Revanna, son of PWD Minister H.D. Revanna, the JD(S) patriarch was looking for a safe seat. He first demanded the Mysuru-Kodagu seat, but it was turned down by the Congress. Instead, the Congress offered Tumakuru.
This irritated Mr Muddahanumegowda and he reportedly requested party state leaders not to give the Tumakuru seat to the JD(S) as he had won it in 2014, despite Modi wave sweeping the country. Deputy Chief Minister Dr G. Parameshwar too was reportedly upset with the party decision and had promised Mr Muddahanumegowda that he would impress upon the high command to retain the seat. He spoke to the CM to select another constituency in place of Tumakuru, but the talks failed.
That was one of the reasons why Dr Parameshwar skipped a meeting of leaders of both parties last week, sources said. With no help coming forth from state leaders, Mr Muddahanume Gowda held a meeting of district Congress leaders to elicit their opinion on contesting the election and the response was an overwhelming yes. The meeting was held at his farmhouse, away from the public eye.
On Saturday, he announced that he will file his nomination papers on March 25 in Tumakuru and also hold a big roadshow as a show of strength. "I would like to know from my party leaders as to why I have been made a scapegoat and denied the ticket. I am in public life for over three decades. I had never planned to hold a meeting of my well-wishers till yesterday (Friday) hoping that my party will not disappoint me and give me a ticket to seek re-election from Tumakuru. But I was shocked when the party denied me an opportunity. I have worked hard for the development of my constituency. I had never expected that I had to beg with the party for the ticket. I had never expected such a treatment from my party."
He said that the party still has time to reconsider its decision and make him the party candidate, or else he would file his nomination papers and go before the public. "It is up to the people of Tumakuru to accept me or not. The party should know that I am the sitting MP and it was I who sat in the Lok Sabha,” he said.
Meanwhile, a joint rally of Congress and JD(S) which was supposed to be held in Tumakuru on Sunday was cancelled because of the sudden political developments. Mr Gowda has reportedly convened a meeting of his party legislators of Tumakuru to discuss the next course....