‘There is more factionalism in the Congress than in the BJP'

K.S. Eshwarappa, president of the State unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said on Sunday that a triangular fight among the BJP, the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) would only benefit his party in the byelection to the Udupi-Chikmagalur Lok Sabha constituency.

Mr. Eshwarappa told presspersons here that the BJP candidate, V. Sunil Kumar, would emerge victorious. In the 2009 Lok Sabha election, JD(S) had supported the Communist Party of India (CPI). But this time, the JD(S) had fielded its candidate…. The BJP would win by a bigger margin this time, he said. The Congress was requesting the JD(S) to withdraw its candidate while the JD(S) was asking the Congress to do the same. Both the parties want to take advantage of anti-BJP votes, he added.

To a query, he said the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa would campaign during the byelection. The BJP would focus on door-to-door campaigning.

Asked if Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda would remain in office for the remaining 15- month term of the Assembly, Mr. Eshwarappa said: “When our party president Nitin Gadkari has already said that Mr. Gowda will remain as Chief Minister, there should be no doubts on this issue.”

To another question, Mr. Eshwarappa said there was more factionalism in the Congress than in the BJP. Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah should first set his house in order and then talk about infighting in the BJP. The Congress had failed as an Opposition party. “It has confined itself to just holding press meets,” he said.

Asked if infighting in the BJP and the porn scandal would affect BJP's chances in the byelection, Mr. Eshwarappa said there were small problems in the party and they would not affect its prospects.

The BJP was strong both in Udupi and Chikmagalur districts, he added.

BJP leaders Ananth Kumar Hegde, K. Shankar Poojary, Udaykumar Shetty, T.V. Hegde and Shyamala Kundar were present.

Rahman Khan confident

Staff Correspondent from Hassan writes:

Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha K. Rahman Khan has exuded confidence that the Congress candidate will win the byelection.

Congress-led UPA Government at the Centre had addressed the problems of coffee planters and areca growers in the constituency, he told presspersons in Hassan on Sunday. Mr. Khan said the Centre had released a Rs. 450-crore package for coffee planters. Voters in the constituency would also remember the Congress-led government's response to agrarian problems in the Malnad region, he added.

To JD(S) State president H.D Kumaraswamy's appeal to the Congress to withdraw its candidate to support secular forces, Mr. Khan said the Congress was a national party and it would not withdraw its candidate.

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