Ramya backs out of Youth Cong chief's poll

Ramya backs out of Youth Cong chief's poll

Smear campaign puts brakes on actors political ambitions

Choosing senior Congress leader D K Shivakumar as her political mentor too must have gone against her as detractors of Shivakumar made veiled attacks against her.

If everything had gone as she and her supporters had planned, she would have filed her nomination papers on Sunday. But she did not do so.

She is said to be on an Europe tour as per the advice given by those who tried to bring her into the party.

Though Ramya had been non-committal about contesting for the post, it was an open secret that she was an aspirant. Her instant success - winning the booth level election from Shantinagar on September 19 - created problems for her.

Her soaring popularity and political ambitions made many Congress leaders uncomfortable, as they had already placed their bets on other prospective candidates.

On top of it, it is said they did not like Shivakumar donning the role of a mentor.

Shivakumar himself said: "We advised her against contesting this time”. With the full backing of Shivakumar, Tejaswini Ramesh could get the party ticket and also defeat JD(S) leader H D Deve Gowda in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections. But later, she fell from the grace of Shivakumar and lost the 2009 elections.

Personal attacks

Ramya, who gave a series of television and print media interviews, was first issued a gag order by the election commission of the Indian Youth Congress.

Later, some supporters of senior Congress leaders began personal attacks against her.
Some streets of Shivajinagar had posters of her and BJP leader Narendra Modi, who she had named as one of her idols.

The posters also questioned her roots – “Where do you hail from? Mandya, Taj West End or Shantinagar?” the posters screamed.

Though none is staking claim for the poster campaign, it is rumoured that a Congress leader took serious exception to Ramya's reported statement that she would do her best to improve Shantinagar.

Continued attacks from various quarters are said to have upset the actor, who was advised to travel abroad till the nominations were over, so that she would not have to react to the smear campaign.

Shivakumar, who had backed Ramya in the elections, however said she had opted out of the election to give others an opportunity.

"Ramya wanted to give an opportunity to party workers to contest for the president’s post. She is young and she can be with the Youth Congress for the next eight years. We also advised her not to contest. She will, however, continue to work for the party,” Shivakumar added.

Ramya, who had brought glitz, glamour and fan following to the party from the moment she joined the Youth Congress, has taken herself off the elections at a crucial juncture. But being a booth president, she has become eligible to contest any other elections like the Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha or Assembly.

Ramya’s supporters claim she may emerge a 'giant killer' if she contests Assembly or Lok Sabha polls. Hence, she has every chance of playing a bigger role than just being confined to the Youth Congress.

Three contenders

Now that Ramya is out of the race, the top contenders for the president’s post are Priyank Kharge from Chittapur in Gulbarga, Rizwan Arshad from Narasimharaja in Mysore and Srinivas from Rajajinagar in Bangalore.

All three filed their nominations in their respective Lok Sabha constituency headquarters on Sunday.

No woman has occupied the KPCC president’s post and that of State Youth Congress president in recent years.

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