Bengaluru: Has the Congress thrown in the towel in K R Pete even before the battle for the constituency could begin? The party’s lacklustre campaign in the absence of local leaders for its candidate, K B Chandrashekar has set tongues wagging, with many speculating that it is not interested in making a serious attempt to win from this constituency in Mandya district. The party is up against disqualified MLA, K R Narayana Gowda of the BJP and Mr Devaraj of the Janata Dal (Secular) in K.R Pete. While a large number of Congress leaders were present when former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah visited it to kick off the party’s poll campaign here, most have since disappeared, leaving everything to the party candidate and his group of followers. The absence of defeated candidates of the last assembly poll like N Cheluvarayaswamy, Ramesh Bandisiddegowda and P M Narendra Swamy from the campaign is, in particular, fueling speculation that they may be trying to help disqualified MLA, Narayana Gowda win from the constituency.
The idea is gaining ground as the trio had worked against the Congress and JD(S) sponsored candidate, Nikhil Kumaraswamy and for independent candidate, Sumalatha Ambarish in Mandya during the recent Lok Sabha poll. Observed one Congress leader, “ Except for Siddaramaiah no other leader has come here to campaign. While the BJP is using all its resources to ensure the victory of Narayana Gowda, Congress leaders are still embroiled in internal bickering.” Unlike the Congress, the BJP has sent deputy Chief Minister, Dr C N Ashwathnarayana and the Chief Minister’s son, B Y Vijayendra, to campaign in K R Pete, and the JD(S) too is working hard for its candidate, Devaraj, determind to defeat the disqualified legislator , who helped topple its government in July.