Cong workers refuse to canvas for JD(S) nominee

Cong workers refuse to canvas for JD(S) nominee

The tension between local Congress and JD(S) leaders and workers is palpable in Mandya ahead of the bypolls for the Lok Sabha constituency.

Congress leaders and workers in Mandya are refusing to campaign for JD(S) candidate L R Shivarame Gowda. They are unhappy that the Congress has not fielded any candidate and “gave away” the seat to the JD(S).

Prominent local leaders, including N Chaluvarayaswamy and Ramesh Bandisidde Gowda, who joined the Congress after quitting the JD(S) just before the May 2018 Assembly polls, have openly stated that they will not campaign for the JD(S) candidate. The byelection in the constituency has been necessitated as sitting MP C S Puttaraju of the JD(S) vacated the seat after winning the assembly elections in May this year. Now, Shivarame Gowda is pitted against former bureaucrat Siddaramaiah of the BJP.

Last week, leaders of the partners in the coalition government – JD(S) and Congress - tried to put up a show of unity by holding a joint press conference. Former prime minister H D Deve Gowda and former chief minister Siddarmaiah said they will hold a joint campaign in all the five seats going for the November 3 byelection.

But it is an entirely different scene in Mandya. On Tuesday, a joint meeting of JD(S) and Congress workers was scheduled to discuss the modalities of the campaign. But hardly any Congress worker turned up for the meeting. The local Congress leaders have openly defied the high command’s instructions to work for JD(S) candidate and some of them have even quit the party.

Siddaramaiah and Large and Medium Scale Industries Minister K J George will be in Mandya on Wednesday to convince the workers and local leaders to participate in the campaign.

However, the JD(S) is not unduly worried, as Mandya is a strong bastion of the party. The JD(S) won all the eight Assembly segments under the Mandya parliamentary seat in the May polls. Besides, it has a hold on all the local bodies in Mandya. Three ministers in the Kumaraswamy government – D C Thammanna, C S Puttaraju and Sa Ra Mahesh – are from the Mandya LS seat limits.