Victorious Cong to think twice about admitting 'outsiders'

With the Congress registering an impressive victory in the urban local bodies (ULB) elections, the party high command is likely to think long and hard before inducting ‘outsiders’ into the party.

Some of the sitting MLAs as well those who recently quit their Assembly membership are aspiring to join the Congress.

The party had asked these leaders to prove their strength in the ULB polls and given them a free hand in selection of the Congress candidates for the civic bodies in their constituencies.

Although the party had indicated that they might be accommodated in the Congress, it had not given them any assurance on giving the ticket to contest the ensuing Assembly elections.

But, the Congress has fared poorly in the backyards of these leaders. Their failure to ensure victory for the Congress in their pocketboroughs, despite being given a free hand in the ticket distribution, has apparently come as a shot in the arm for a section of Congress leaders opposing the induction of ‘outsiders.’

Independent MLAs P M Narendra Swamy (Malavalli), D Sudhakar (Hiriyur) and Venkataramanappa (Pavagad), BJP MLAs Belur Gopalakrishna (Sagar) and Raju Gouda (Shorapur) and C P Yogeeshwara (Channapatna) and C S Putte Gowda (Shravanabelagola), who recently quit as MLAs, are among those who are making efforts to join the Congresss.

In Malavalli (TMC), Hiriyur (TMC), Pavagad (TMC) or Channapatna (CMC), the Congress has lost out to either the JD(S) or independents.

The JD(S) has won the Channapatna CMC and has relegated the Congress to the second position in Malavalli and Pavagad.

In Hiriyur, independents have gained an upper hand by winning 11 seats, while the Congress has got just eight.  

An exception

However, Raju Gouda is an exception. The Congress has won Shorapura TMC by bagging 15 of 27 seats. The BJP and the JD(S) have not been able to win a single seat.

The KPCC had recently sent a list of 18 persons, including these six leaders, to the party high command, recommending that they be inducted into the party and given the ticket to contest the Assembly polls.

But, the high command was forced to put the list on hold following stiff resistance from senior Congress leaders such as M Veerappa Moily, C K Jaffer Sharief, P Kodandaramaiah, V S Ugrappa, R V Deshpande and Kagodu Thimmappa.

Now, the ULB poll results have come in handy for these leaders to further take up the issue with the high command, sources in the party said.

Election committee meet

The KPCC election committee is scheduled to hold its first meeting on March 16 and 17 on the outskirts of Bangalore to shortlist candidates for the coming Assembly elections. The committee will also take stock of the party’s position after the ULB polls.

Senior leaders, including AICC Karnataka incharge Madhusudan Mistry, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Siddaramaiah and KPCC chief G Parameshwara will take part in the meeting, the sources said.

With voters in urban areas supporting the Congress in the civic polls, the party is now planning to focus more on rural areas during the Assembly polls.

The party will soon chalk out a strategy to reach out to the rural voters and shortlist its candidates accordingly, sources said.

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