JD(S) in Ramanagara turns bitter pill for DK Brothers

JD(S) in Ramanagara turns bitter pill for DK Brothers

D K Shivakumar

Water Resources Minister D K Shivakumar and his brother, Bengaluru Rural MP DK Suresh, have reluctantly agreed to ally with the JD(S) in the Ramanagara Assembly constituency bypoll scheduled for November 3.

Their reluctance stems from the fear that a JD(S) victory here would have a ripple effect on the Lok Sabha polls, which are just a few months away, possibly denting Suresh’s prospects in the Bengaluru Rural seat.

The Vokkaliga-dominated Ramanagara constituency, which also has a sizeable minority population, falls under the Bengaluru Rural Lok Sabha seat.

Of the other seven constituencies under this Parliamentary seat, the Congress holds four (including Kanakapura represented by Shivakumar), JD(S) two and BJP one.

On Tuesday, when AICC general secretary incharge of Karnataka K C Venugopal reached out to party leaders from Ramanagara, including Suresh, he was advised against an alliance with the JD(S). Top leaders, however, said the alliance with the JD(S) was necessary as both parties are already in a coalition.

“The Congress has its own vote bank in Ramanagara. We urged the leadership to listen to the local party workers,” Suresh told reporters.

Leading the dissent was senior leader C M Lingappa, a close aide of the DK brothers, who argued that the Congress had a formidable base in Ramanagara and that party workers were against ceding the seat to the JD(S).

Lingappa also demanded that Iqbal Hussain, the Congress candidate who secured nearly 70,000 votes against H D Kumaraswamy in the May 12 Assembly polls be fielded from the constituency. Before meeting with top leaders, Hussain’s stand was that the Congress would commit a “blunder by sacrificing” the Ramanagara seat to the JD(S). After the meeting, he told reporters: “I have conveyed the feelings of the party workers. We will abide by whatever the party decides.”

Not putting up a fight against the JD(S) will pave the way for the Congress to lose its ground in the constituency and demotivate an already irked party cadre, sources

Apparently, the party cadre is so disgruntled that workers have become “averse to the JD(S),” according to one leader. “Ask any party worker in Ramanagara...for them, it’s not a coalition, but a JD(S) government functioning with the Congress sitting in the Opposition.”