Buckling under pressure by the former Union Minister and actor M.H. Ambareesh, the Congress high command on Monday withdrew Ravindra Srikantaiah as its candidate from Srirangapatna and tried to put an end to an otherwise ugly development for the party in Mandya district.
The decision followed a meeting by Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah with the actor, who was reportedly told by him that one Lingaraju may be fielded in the ancient temple town. His follower D.L. Ravi, who started campaigning as his name had been cleared for Melkote, withheld it after learning that Mr. Ambareesh had announced that he would not file nomination papers.
But, the rebellion in the party has spread to some other constituencies and the former minister and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee vice-president A. Krishnappa has declared that he was leaving the party to join the Janata Dal (Secular) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda and MP H.D. Kumaraswamy, who have assured a ticket to him from Hiriyur.
Enraged by the decision to field Bhyrati Basavaraju in K.R. Puram, Mr. Krishnappa alleged that he was betrayed and the party did not respect his seniority and loyalty. The Congress had already admitted the former Minister D. Sudhakar, an independent MLA, and given ticket to contest from Hiriyur.
Another senior Congress leader H.M. Revanna, who was planning to join the Janata Dal (Secular), has been pacified and assured of an “appropriate” position if the party comes to power. In the last few days, BJP leaders including Belur Gopalakrishna, Shashil Namoshi, Manappa Vajjal and Raju Gowda joined the JD(S). The former MLA Parimala Nagappa, who identified with Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP), also joined the JD (S).
G. Padmavathi, three-time BBMP councillor, is contesting as a rebel candidate in Rajajinagar. Angered by the Congress decision to give ticket to the Karnataka Mahila Congress president Manjula Naidu, she said she had polled 35,000 votes in 2008 elections, but the party did not respect her father’s service as a freedom fighter. The former minister Rani Satish is cut up with the decision in Rajajinagar. Reddy Samaja leader and former MLA B.V. Ramachandra Reddy in a letter to KPPC president G. Parameshwara criticised him for ignoring aspirants of his caste in the city. He said the Congress had given tickets to only two, whereas the BJP had fielded four candidates.
Meanwhile, a source in KPCC said that party aspirants in about 30 constituencies were unhappy and were likely to play spoilsport in the fortunes of the official candidates.