In the summer of polls, Cong singes in rebellion heat

In the summer of polls, Cong singes in rebellion heat

Supporters of leaders denied ticket virtually lay siege to KPCC office

In the summer of polls, Cong singes in rebellion heat

The Congress is facing the heat of rebellion even before the official release of the list of candidates for the upcoming elections to the State Assembly.

A day after a group of women Congress leaders staged a protest in front of party chief Sonia Gandhi’s residence in Delhi, hundreds of supporters of Congress leader from Shravanabelagola in Hassan district, Gopalaswamy, on Monday, staged a protest in front of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) office on Queen’s Road.

The protesters demanded that their leader should be given the ticket. They opposed the party’s move to field former JD(S) legislator C S Putte Gowda from Shravanabelagola.

Supporters of party leader Krishnamurthy, who is a ticket aspirant for Rajarajeshwarinagar constituency, protested the proposed move to field corporator Muniratna.

High drama was witnessed when one of the protesters tried to immolate himself by pouring kerosene, while some tried to storm the KPCC office.

However, the situation was brought under control with the intervention of the police. Besides, several block Congress members from Bangalore South constituency protested in Delhi, demanding that Tejaswini Gowda should not be given the ticket, causing immense embarrassment to the party.

With the ticket aspirants and their supporters gathering in large numbers, the KPCC office appeared as if it was under a siege. The protesters, holding placards with messages in support of their leaders, shouted slogans against their rivals. The police had barricaded the entrance of the party office for security reasons.

“Putte Gowda is an outsider and a party hopper. He quit the JD(S) because he was aware that he was not getting the ticket in the JD(S). The Congress party must give preference to loyal party workers in the constituency while giving the ticket,” the protesters from Shravanabelagola later told senior party leader B L Shankar, who tried to pacify them.

After giving them a patient hearing, Shankar said the KPCC’s role in the selection of candidates is very limited. It is the party high command which takes the decision to field candidates in the interest of the party.

‘Only the beginning’

Sources said Monday’s protests were only the beginning and that they would intensify once the official list of candidates is released. Several of the senior leaders who are likely to be denied the tickets are very upset. Several of the ticket aspirants thronged the residences of senior leaders like Mallikarjuna Kharge, Veerappa Moily and Siddaramaiah in a last ditch attempt to get the tickets.

There are possibilities of some of the aspirants hopping over to other parties, seeking tickets to contest the polls, sources said.

Prominent among those who are said to be upset are former minister A Krishnappa from K R Puram (the party is likely to field Byrati Basavaraj, a close confidant of Siddaramaiah), Rani Satish from Rajajinagar (the party is likely to field Manjula Naidu), Jaffer Sharief from Hebbal (Sharief had sought ticket for his grandson, but H M Revanna is the likely candidate), Atmananda from Mandya city (actor-politician Ambareesh is likely to be the candidate).

Meanwhile, KPCC chief G Parameshwara and leader Siddaramaiah returned to Bangalore from Delhi on Sunday evening, after completing the process of candidate selection. The party is planning to release the names of official candidates in three instalments to prevent rebellion, sources said.

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