As leaders from other political parties are on their toes to join the Congress, the party has decided to tread cautiously as any wrong move would trigger rebellion within its ranks, spoiling its prospects in the ensuing urban local body (ULB) elections scheduled for March 7.
The ULB elections results are considered important as they are likely to set the trend for the crucial State assembly elections which are likely to be held in May.
The Congress is learnt to have decided to defer the decision on the proposal to induct 18 leaders, including former ministers and sitting MLAs from the BJP and the JD(S).
“Majority of those who want to join the Congress are seeking the party ticket to contest the Assembly polls. The high command which has to approve the proposal has not communicated anything to us in this regard,” KPCC President G Parameshwara told reporters on Friday.
The high command may or may not approve the State unit’s recommendations. “It may be independent MLAs or Raju Gouda or any other leader,” he said.
Parameshwara’s statement comes a day after C P Yogeeshwara and Raju Gouda of BJP resigned as ministers to join the Congress. The Congress’ plans to defer decision on inducting those from other parties has put all those waiting to join the party in a limbo. For instance, Raju Gouda retreated from submitting resignation letter as Shorapur MLA to Speaker K G Bopaiah at the last minute as he could not get any assurance from the Congress on accommodating him.
However, Yogeeshwara submitted his resignation letter the Speaker at his residence in Madikeri. C S Putte Gowda who was JD(S) MLA from Shravanabelagola resigned early this week to join the Congress.
The Congress sources said there has been a resistance within the party to induct “outsiders.” While former MP P Kodandaramaiah is against Independent MLA D Sudhakar joining the party, senior leader V S Ugrappa is opposed to the re-entry of Pavagad MLA Venkataramanappa. Similarly, D K Shivakumar is opposing C P Yogeeshwara’s re-entry and R V Deshpande is against Minister Anand Asnotikar.
Another senior leader Kagodu Thimmappa is against the Congress admitting his relative and Sagar MLA Belur Gopalakrishna of BJP.
Senior leaders Siddaramaiah and C K Jaffer Sharief too have opposed bringing leaders from outside by sidelining those in the party. One of the union ministers from the State is learnt to have strongly opposed inducting the Independent MLAs.
AICC general secretary Madhusudhan Mistry, in-charge of Karnataka affairs, is scheduled to be in Bangalore on Saturday to iron out the differences among the state leaders on ‘induction’ of outsiders.
Meanwhile, the Congress leaders are learnt to have informally assured some of the aspirants that they would be given the ticket and asked them to work for the party in the ULB polls. They include Venkataramanappa, D Sudhakar, P M Narendraswamy, Shivaraj Thangadagi (all independent MLAs), Putte Gowda, Yogeeshwara and Raju Gouda, sources added.
Raju Gouda defers resignation
Although former minister and BJP legislator Raju Gouda is confident of getting the Congress ticket to face the next Assembly polls, there seems to be some hurdles in his way.
For, KPCC President G Parameshwara and Union Minister Mallikarjun Kharge have different candidates in mind for the Shorapur constituency in Yadgir district now represented by Gouda. Thus, Gouda has decided to ‘go slow’ on quitting his Assembly membership. It is said that Gouda and four Indepedent MLAs met Parameshwara this morning.
When contacted, Gouda said that he was confident of getting the Congress ticket. “I dropped my plans to meet the Speaker in Madikeri as I had to attend meetings in the constituency to finalise candidates for the ULB polls. I am planning to submit my resignation letter on Monday or Tuesday,” he added.
It is not clear whether the A and B forms for the followers of Gouda to contest the ULB polls was given by the Congress today. Saturday is the last date for filing nominations.
Veerkumar Patil, president, Congress election committee of Gulbarga/Yadgir, told Deccan Herald that he has not received any instructions from the party to distribute the forms to Gouda’s followers.