Grappling with dissent, Congress warns cadre

Grappling with dissent, Congress warns cadre

The Congress faces the challenge of convincing its grassroots machinery to work in tandem with the JD(S), a party that has been a bitter rival for decades.

The Congress, which is grappling with dissidence and the threat of sabotage, has warned party cadre of “strong disciplinary action” if they were found to be working against the interests of the Congress-JD(S) alliance.

“Those Congress leaders working against the Congress-JD(S) alliance candidates, especially the JD(S) candidates, I’m categorically saying they will face strong disciplinary action. Those working to help the BJP or independents supported by the BJP have no place in the Congress,” AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka K C Venugopal said, after holding a discussion with Congress ministers late on Friday night.

The Congress faces the challenge of convincing its grassroots machinery to work in tandem with the JD(S), a party that has been a bitter rival for decades. The party faces dissidence in Mandya, Hassan, Tumkur and Mysore Lok Sabha seats.

The Congress rank and file have a broader interest, which is “to defeat the BJP at any cost and reduce the BJP’s numbers,” Venugopal said. “Everywhere Congress workers are complaining. Small issues are there (between the two parties). We’re confident that we’re patching up everything.”

In the meeting, Venugopal is said to have expressed his unhappiness over non-cooperation from party workers. Venugopal asked the ministers to ensure coordination and involve JD(S) workers in campaigns at the local level.

On March 31, the alliance will sound the poll bugle through a joint campaign that will be launched by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and JD(S) national president H D Deve Gowda at the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre on Tumakuru Road. “We expect nearly 5 lakh people to gather for the event,” KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao said.