Embers burn as ex-CM pleads with cadre

Embers burn as ex-CM pleads with cadre

An earnest video appeal is how Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah concluded his attempts to douse dissidence in Mandya where a section of party workers is unwilling to support Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil.

An earnest video appeal is how Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah concluded his attempts to douse dissidence in Mandya where a section of party workers is unwilling to support Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil.

Siddaramaiah’s video message comes after two rounds of talks with the party’s Mandya leaders remained inconclusive. Nikhil is facing a tough election against Independent candidate Sumalatha, the widow of actor-turned-politician Ambareesh who is a household name in Mandya.

“Nikhil Kumaraswamy is contesting as the alliance candidate in Mandya. Leaders and workers of Congress and JD(S) should campaign unitedly. I appeal to both Congress and JD(S) workers, especially voters of Mandya, to help Nikhil get votes and bless him,” Siddaramaiah says in the video. He adds that he would campaign in Mandya along with JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda on April 12.

Kumaraswamy tweeted the video. “This appeal from the chairperson of the Congress-JD(S) coalition coordination committee is contextual.”

A section of Mandya Congress leaders are upset with Kumaraswamy for “neglecting” them and “hurting their self-respect.” According to sources, KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao and Food and Civil Supplies Minister B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan - he was earlier with the JD(S) - have been tasked with ensuring Kumaraswamy and Mandya Congress leaders are on the same page.

Mandya Congress leaders N Cheluvarayaswamy, A B Ramesh Bandisiddegowda and P M Narendraswamy are said to be adamant on not supporting Nikhil. 

The alliance between rivals-turned-friends Congress and the JD(S) has led to grassroots dissidence, embers of which continue to burn not only in Mandya, but also in the Mysore, Hassan and Tumkur Lok Sabha seats.

Sample this: Siddaramaiah faced an awkward situation during his campaign for Rizwan Arshad in the Bangalore Central constituency on Monday. While canvassing, a party worker shouted out: “We’ll make Rizwan win here, but please make Sumalatha win in Mandya.” Siddaramaiah feigned ignorance and moved on.

Speaking to reporters, Rao said the party had made all attempts to resolve issues in Mandya.

“Siddaramaiah and Deve Gowda are going there on April 12. Even Congress president Rahul Gandhi is going there on April 13. The Congress is helping the JD(S) win and vice-versa. Mandya cannot be given special treatment. It’ll become inevitable for us to take action on those leaders who act in contravention of the party’s decision,” he said.