Mandya mutiny: Cong boots out 7 block chiefs

Mandya mutiny: Cong boots out 7 block chiefs

The Congress has suspended seven of its block presidents in Mandya where the party is grappling with dissidence. 

In an order issued on Wednesday, the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) suspended the block presidents based on complaints that they were working against Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy's son Nikhil, the JD(S) candidate endorsed by the Congress as part of an alliance. The seven block presidents are indulging in "anti-party activity," the order states. 

Nikhil is said to be facing a tough fight from independent candidate Sumalatha, who is the wife of actor-turned-politician late Ambareesh, a popular figure in Mandya. Ambareesh was a Congress leader and Sumalatha had sought the ticket this time. The party, however, turned her request down as the Mandya seat had been ceded to the JD(S). 

A section of Congress workers is supporting Sumalatha, and these seven block presidents are among them. They are: H Appaji, Mandya Rural; AS Rajeev, Bharati Nagar; Putraramu, Malavalli Rural; KJ Devaraju, Malavalli City; M Prasanna, Nagamangala; KR Ravindra Babu, KR Pet and SB Prakash, Melkote. 

Rivalry between the Congress and the JD(S) is the stuff of legend, but the new found friendship has not gone down too well at the grassroots. Particularly, Congress workers are unwilling to support Nikhil because the JD(S) leadership had not taken them into confidence. 

The suspension came after repeated warnings from the Congress leadership. The party is particularly irked with the dissidence because Sumalatha has found support from the BJP, which has not fielded a candidate in Mandya. 

The Congress is worried that if its party workers do not cooperate with the JD(S) in Mandya, the regional party's cadre could return the favour in the Mysore Lok Sabha constituency, which the Congress is desperate to wrest from the BJP. 

The suspension comes ahead of Congress president Rahul Gandhi's campaign scheduled to be held at Krishnarajanagara of the Mandya Lok Sabha segment on April 13. On April 12, JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda and Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Siddaramaiah are slated to hold a joint campaign there on April 12.