With the first phase of polling to 14 seats concluding on Thursday, all eyes are on the 14 seats in the north of the state, which go to the polls on April 23, this coming Tuesday. This week's BIG STORY is the battle for survival in Kalaburagi for veteran Congress leader, Mallikarjun Kharge, who has set his eyes on yet another term in parliament from this parliamentary constituency, as the ground shifts, K.N. REDDY reports
With his eyes set on yet another term in parliament from Kalaburagi, veteran Congress leader, Mallikarjun Kharge on Saturday swallowed his pride and met his long time political rival and JD(S) MLA from Gurmitkal, Naganagouda Kandkur, Thursday night to persuade him to work for him this Lok Sabha poll.
Mr Kharge had himself represented Gurmitkal in the assembly for eight consecutive terms, but with former minister, Baburao Chinchansur, who replaced him , having joined the BJP, the ground situation in the constituency is now described as "unfavourable" for him, prompting his visit to Mr Kandkur.
Going by sources, Mr Kharge was to begin with reluctant to meet the JD(S) leader to buy peace with him as it could be construed as "surrender" on his part. So he deputed his son ,minister Priyank Kharge and some prominent Veerashaiva -Lingayat leaders meet him instead and also approached Chief Minister H D Kumarsawamy to persuade the MLA to join forces with him this poll. But Mr Kandkur reportedly made it clear that he would not talk to anyone but Mr Kharge himself as only they could settle their differences. Given no choice in the matter Mr Kharge gave in and visited Mr Kandkur at his home in Yadgir to strike "a peace deal" with him. When contacted, Mr Kandkur said although he and Mr Kharge were long standing rivals, he had decided to set their past differences aside and work for him to honour the "coalition dharma" between their respective parties in the state government.
But he also made it clear that the truce was only temporary and restricted only to this election.
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