Although showing signs of confidence, the district Congress said on Tuesday that they would do all they could to dissuade former MLA Vijay Kumar Shetty, who was denied a ticket from Mangalore North, from contesting as an independent candidate.

Responding to a question regarding the possibility of dissidence after Mr. Shetty was overlooked in favour of Mohiuddin Bawa, Dakshina Kannada District Congress president B. Ramanath Rai, who is contesting from Bantwal constituency, said the issue had not yet come to the party’s notice. “There are always multiple aspirants for tickets, and by picking one, there is bound to be disappointment in some quarters. If he [Mr. Shetty] does decide to break away from the party, we will talk to him and persuade him against doing so,” Mr. Rai said.

Furthermore, discounting any impact from Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) or Janata Dal (Secular) in the district, Mr. Rai said the competition was solely between the BJP and the Congress, and if the recently-concluded Urban Local Body elections were any indicator, the “tide” was in the favour of Congress.

Another indicator, he said, were the induction of several leaders from other parties such as Karnataka Janatha Party members Kiran Kumar Shetty, Bhaskar Poojary and district-level JD(S) leaders.

He said that Congress president Sonia Gandhi may come to the city for canvassing, but the dates were yet to be fixed. Meanwhile, Ivan D’Souza, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee Secretary, has been put in charge of the election preparations, while vice-president Kodijal Ibrahim was named as the interim district president.

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