Kheny's induction ticks off families of Kharge, Dharam

Kheny's induction ticks off families of Kharge, Dharam

Former CM's family urges Cong not to field Kheny from Bidar South

Kheny's induction ticks off families of Kharge, Dharam

The families of veteran Congress leaders Mallikarjuna Kharge and (late) N Dharam Singh, which wield significant clout in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region, are upset with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah over the induction of businessman Ashok Kheny into the party.

The ruling Congress has received much flak from various quarters, including from within, ever since Kheny was formally welcomed into the party last week. Kheny is the promoter of the controversial Bengaluru-Mysuru Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project. He represents Bidar South constituency, from where Dharam Singh's son-in-law Chandra Singh is a ticket aspirant, in the Assembly.

Singh's family has formally registered its protest against the "unilateral" decision to rope Kheny in. Singh's elder son and MLC Vijay Singh led a delegation to AICC general secretary incharge of Karnataka K C Venugopal to express their discontent.

The delegation strongly urged Venugopal not to give Kheny the party ticket in the upcoming polls. Apparently, Chandra has been nursing the Bidar South constituency and had worked closely with Singh when he contested the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. "We don't know why Kheny was brought in and we don't want to question the decision of the party leadership. But, we don't welcome the decision and we have stated our position," Vijay told DH.    

According to sources, the Kharge family has supported the Singh family's stand. Kharge and Dharam Singh were close friends for five decades, the latter passed away last July.

"We have built the party's organisation in this region. This is a Congress stronghold. In this background, Kheny believes he is the right candidate, but he is unpopular. Whenever someone joins a party, it must be a positive development. In this case, it has backfired," Vijay said.

A joint legislature committee headed by Law Minister T B Jayachandra, in its 2016 report, found irregularities in the BMIC project and recommended action against Kheny. A Cabinet colleague of Siddaramaiah, who did not wish to be named, said there was serious disgruntlement within the party over Kheny's induction.

"How can anybody justify this? For Siddaramaiah, however, the decision was purely based on winnability," the minister said.