Cong plans ‘Ghar Wapsi,’ Vistarak scheme

The Congress has chalked out a plan to bring back its leaders who quit, in order to strengthen its poll prospects, with the party starting consultations on Friday to prepare itself for the Lok Sabha elections.

AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka K C Venugopal, Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah, KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao among others took stock of eight Lok Sabha seats in a day-long meeting.

Party workers have been asked to bring back former Udupi-Chikmagalur MP K Jayaprakash Hegde, who joined the BJP in 2017, to bolster the party in Malnad and coastal regions. Similarly, in Chikkamagaluru district, former legislators T H Shivashankarappa and G H Srinivas should be roped back.

Apparently, Siddaramaiah taunted leaders from Chikkamagaluru and Udupi districts for the party’s drubbing in the coastal region in the recent Assembly polls. “During our government, we gave you the highest funds for various schemes, but you failed to get votes,” he reportedly said.

Venugopal suggested emulation of the BJP’s Vistarak programme to establish direct contact with voters. It was discussed that one party worker be assigned to communicate with every 30 voters.

It was also decided to have former minister B Ramanath Rai lead the party in the Dakshina Kannada Lok Sabha constituency. “The district has a direct fight between the Congress and the BJP,” Rai said. He even expressed willingness to contest the seat. “If someone else is given the ticket, I will work for that person.”

The party also discussed possible candidates for the Udupi-Chikmagalur Lok Sabha seat. According to sources, former minister Vinay Kumar Sorake is under consideration while the names of veteran M Veerappa Moily (incumbent Chikkaballapur MP) and Rajya Sabha member B K Hariprasad are also speculated.

Senior leader Kagodu Thimmappa told reporters that the party had to be rebuilt in the Shivamogga district. “In the Assembly election, we won one seat and lost six.”

The party’s Hassan unit stuck to its stand that the party should contest the Hassan Lok Sabha seat, which is currently represented by JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda. Former minister A Manju insisted that allying with the JD(S) was not in the party’s interest. “Every day we fight it out with the JD(S) at the local level. It has become much more difficult after the coalition. The party will not survive if the Hassan seat is let go,” he reportedly told party leaders. Manju had lost the 2014 Lok Sabha polls to
Deve Gowda from Hassan.

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Cong plans ‘Ghar Wapsi,’ Vistarak scheme

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