Youth Congress polls, it's complicated!

Leaders eyeing KPCC chief's post want own candidates defeated! They want nominees to win V-P post.

Bengaluru: Elections to the state Youth Congress are now a major cause for concern for senior Congress leaders, who are lobbying for the state Congress president’s post. It is reliably learnt that ministers like D.K. Shivakumar and Chief Minister Siddarmaiah’s supporters have been campaigning hard to ensure that their respective candidates win only the vice-president’s post and not the president’s.

Polling for all Youth Congress posts will be held from May 14 to 16, while counting of votes is scheduled for May 18. The results for the president's post will be announced on May 20. Caste equations and the clout they wield are among the factors that will seal the candidates' fate. There are apprehensions of polls being rigged, with complaints being made to the returning officer appointed to oversee the process.

Speaking to DC, a senior leader said the 2017 Youth Congress battle too seems to be going the same way it did in 2011, when Congress veteran leader M. Mallikarjun Kharge's son Priyank Kharge lost to outgoing YC president Rizwan Arshad. “At that time, a large section of Dalit leaders, along with incumbent KPCC president Dr Parameshwar, had sided with Mr Arshad to trounce Mr Priyank Kharge. Now similar politics is on,” the source said. “The party leadership always tries to strike a caste balance by ensuring that the KPCC president and Youth Congress chief are not from the same caste, which is why leaders want their respective community youngsters defeated, which is kind of a sacrifice. In a way, this is akin to spoiling AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi's aspirations of infusing fresh blood through the electoral process,” the source rued. Sources said that though Mr Shivakumar's supporters have fielded K. Kemparaju, he has been asked go slow as his election as Youth Congress president would scupper chances of Mr Shivakumar replacing Dr Parameshwar as party chief.

At the same time, Mr Siddaramaiah's supporters too are working overtime to ensure that a Lingayat is not elected to the Youth Congress president’s post as it would definitely complicate the plans of bringing in a Lingayat face to the state Congress unit.

The source said that already, the state women’s wing is headed by Ms Lakshmi Hebbalkar, a Lingayat, and the student wing (NSUI) by Manjunath Gowda, a Vokkaliga, and both happen to be Mr Shivakumar's candidates. “Now, his supporters are trying hard to ensure that no Vokkaliga leader wins. At the same time, the chief minister’s camp and several prominent Lingayat MLAs too have joined hands to defeat any Lingayat being elected as president. They too want their community youngsters to be content with the vice-president or general secretary posts,” the source said.

Strong contenders
Sindhanur MLA Hampannagouda Badarli's nephew Basanagouda Badarli, Madhugiri MLA K.N. Rajanna's son K. N. Rajendra and M. Amruthraj are said to be backed by a minister representing a Bengaluru constituency. Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar's candidates K. Kemparaj, Sumaiaya Tabassum and Pushpaltha are in the fray for the president's post.

Charges fly thick
Ahead of the elections, candidates are accusing PROs and DROs of being compromised by rival camps.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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