Internal polls to select Congress candidate for Mangalore

The Congress will hold a secret ballot to select its candidate for the Mangalore Lok Sabha seat, for which the former Union Minister B. Janardhana Poojary and Union Minister M. Veerappa Moily’s son Harsha Moily are in the fray. Observers from the party’s high command will oversee the internal election, a first in the district.

The Dakshina Kannada District Congress Committee (DCC) president and Minister for Forest B. Ramanath Rai said the election would be held in a week or 10 days, in-charge president Ibrahim Kodijal said it would get over before February end. “We have to be ready with the candidate well in advance for the elections,” Mr. Rai said.

The DCC office-bearers said it was one of the 15 constituencies chosen for a new experiment in selecting candidate through “internal democracy” – an idea said to have been floated by party’s vice president Rahul Gandhi to test the “American Model” of selection of candidates. Bangalore North constituency, too, would witness similar election.

The tussle between Mr. Poojary and Mr. Harsha, founder of agribusiness company MokshaYug Acess (MYA), reached New Delhi after the Union Minister openly backed his son, last week.

Mr. Poojary had declared that he would take the “war” to New Delhi. Both contenders had landed in the national capital soon after.

KPCC president G. Parameshwara had reportedly informed a group of 300 supporters of Mr. Poojary on Thursday that the candidate for Mangalore would be selected by an electoral college. According to a DCC spokesperson, the college would consist of MLAs, former MLAs, MPs and former MPs, all sitting Zilla Panchayat members, former Mayors, District Congress office-bearers, heads of different cells of the DCC , besides the presidents of the 16 block Congress units and the heads of the cells in each of the block Congress were expected to cast their votes in the unprecedented election.

Khader backs Poojary

Minister for Health and Family Welfare U.T. Khader said here on Saturday that he was personally of the opinion that the Congress should field senior party leader B. Janardhana Poojary from Daskhina Kannada Lok Sabha constituency.Mr. Khader said that the party workers in the district were also in favour of fielding Mr. Poojary. He said that any party worker (of the Congress) could ask for the ticket to contest the election. It was his or her right. The party high command would take the final decision on who should be fielded, he said.

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