Krishna, Muniyappa to get busy with party work

At last, senior leaders in the State unit of the Congress have begun spending time for party work.

The Congress Bhavan will be a beehive of activities on Sunday as Union Ministers S M Krishna and K H Muniyappa will be at the Bhavan to hold preliminary meetings with block level officers of the party.

While Krishna is in charge of the Bangalore division of the party, Muniyappa is in charge of the Mysore division.

The party high command has made four senior leaders in charge of four divisions of the party, keeping basically the next Assembly elections in mind. The leaders are expected to ensure implementation of the Centre-sponsored welfare programmes.

While Krishna will interact with block presidents and other leaders between 11 am and 1 pm, Muniyappa will hold his session from 3 pm to 5 pm, according to party sources.

After these sessions, a separate meeting will be held in the evening to discuss a suitable candidate for the Udupi-Chikmagalur Lok Sabha byelection.

The names of Jayaprakash Hegde, B L Shankar, Vinaykumar Sorake and Taradevi are making rounds as the candidate.

The party is showing interest in fielding Hegde as he has a base both in Udupi and Chikmagalur.

He lost to D V Sadananda Gowda of the BJP in the 2009 Parliamentary election by about 27,000 votes. Hegde has shown his willingness to be the candidate again in case the party gives him the ticket.

Gowda faced stiff competition from Hegde last time. The presence of the CPI candidate in the fray, supported by the JD(S), and Independent candidates resulted in the Congress losing its traditional votes of nearly 50,000, helping Gowda romp home.

CPI, which had cut into Congress’s votebank last time, is working towards a similar strategy this time as well.

The party, which is yet to decide on fielding a candidate, had last year fielded Radha Sundaresh. The JD(S), which had not fielded any candidate, had backed the CPI candidate, who had bagged 24,991 votes.

CPI’s State secretary P V Lokesh said this time too the party would contest the election with the support of JD(S). “We are intent on continuing our relationship with the JD(S),” he said. The party is holding a State-level meeting on February 23, where it will finalise its candidate.

The byelection has been necessitated following the resignation of Sadananda Gowda as MP. The polling is to be held on March 18.

Madhu may be JD(S) nominee

The JD(S) is seriously planning to field Madhu Bangarappa, son of former chief minister late S Bangarappa, as its candidate in the upcoming byelection to Udupi-Chikmagalur parliamentary seat.

Sources said the party’s national president H D Deve Gowda and State president H D Kumaraswamy were in favour of Madhu’s candidature. Former Bajrang Dal leader Mahendra Kumar is also an aspirant for the party ticket to contest the bypoll. Gowda is learnt to have convened a meeting of senior party leaders on February 22 in Bangalore to take a decision.

Madhu is now the JD(S) Youth wing president.

He belongs to the Idiga community, which is one of the dominant communities in the constituency. The party wants to cash in on the caste factor. Also, the JD(S) is hoping that the sympathy factor would work in Madhu’s favour, following Bangarappa’s death recently, sources said.

Above all, contesting the bypoll with Madhu as the candidate would help the party make inroads in the coastal region, where it presently has almost zero presence. In the absence of a strong base in the region, the party had left its ally, the CPI, to contest the seat in the 2009 general elections.

Mahendra Kumar hails from Chikmagalur. He has been made in charge of organising youth and students in the JD(S).

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