Bengaluru: The battle for the contentious Tumakuru seat, which has been allotted to the JD(S) by the Congress though it had won the seat in 2014, has also exposed the struggle for supremacy within the Congress between former CM Siddaramaiah and Deputy CM Dr G Parameshwar.
Sources said that with several Congress leaders including sitting MP Muddahanumegowda demanding Tumakuru, JD(S) supremo Deve Gowda has given two days time to Dr Parameshwar to secure the nod of his high command to swap Tumakuru with Mysuru, which has been given to the Congress. Mr Gowda's contention is that he is comfortable fighting from either constituency and it is for the Congress to decide which constituency they want. But AICC President Rahul Gandhi has reportedly refused to make any changes in the list, leaving Dr Parameshwar crestfallen.
Initially, the JD(S) had asked for both Tumkuru and Mysuru and the plan was that Mr Gowda would contest from Mysuru. Dr Parameshwar, making use of his proximity to Mr Gowda, convinced him to give up the claim to Tumakuru and Congress MP Muddahanumegowda's name was cleared by the party screening committee for the seat. This also meant that Mysuru would go to the JD(S). But Siddaramaiah was not ready to concede his home turf, Mysuru to the JD(S) and reportedly utilised the good offices of RDPR Minister Krishna Byregowda, a member of Rahul Gandhi's inner circle, to convince the Congress president to concede Tumakuru to JD(S) and not Mysuru, sources said.
Mr Siddaramaiah has with this move, killed two birds with one stone. He has retained his home turf, Mysuru for the Congress and also proved that he is invincible in the coalition.
A not so amused Mr Gowda asked Dr Parameshwar who called him on Thursday, to convince the Congress high command if he really wanted Tumakuru back adding that as he was travelling in Himachal Pradesh, he had postponed the announcement of his seat.
With no indication coming from the high command that Tumakuru would return to the Congress, former MLAs of Madhugiri and Tumakuru town are openly criticising the party decision to hand over a constituency where it has a sitting MP. The dissidence in the Congress can only be silenced if someone as senior as Mr Gowda himself becomes the coalition candidate in Tumakuru. If the JD(S) tries to field anyone else from the district, Congress-JD(S) differences are sure to come to the fore and help the BJP, sources added....