Staff Correspondent

They claim `loyal' part workers were ignored during the appointment procedure

HASSAN: Though senior Congress leaders in the district have acknowledged the decision of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) in appointing

A. Manju president of the Hassan District Congress Committee (HDCC), it seems a section of the party is not happy with the decision. According to sources, State youth Congress leaders Vinay Gandhi, C.V. Rajappa, and E.S. Chandrashekar called on AICC leaders, including A.K. Antony and Oscar Fernandes and urged them to appoint a consensus candidate.

Accusing Mr. Manju of being a defector, they alleged that the Congress in the district had taken a beating after his admission to the party. They alleged that instead of sending three names to the AICC, leaders including former Ministers B. Shivaram, late G. Puttaswamy Gowda, MLC, S.M. Anand and H.C. Srikantaiah had recommended Mr. Manju's name. "Loyal" party workers had been ignored in the appointment and it was nothing but imposing an outsider on party workers. They said after his admission, the party fared badly in both general and local body elections.

However, disputing the claims made by the three leaders, senior party leaders said when district returning officers sent by the AICC to gather opinion of party workers on the appointment of district president they had suggested Mr. Manju's name as none of the discontented leaders came forward to shoulder the responsibility.

Mr. Manju contested from the Arkalgud Assembly Constituency in 1994 .He sought a Congress ticket in 1999 and on denial he contested from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and defeated A.T. Ramaswamy of the Congress. He left the BJP and joined the Congress.Another senior leader said discontented leaders had not moral right to accuse, Mr. Manju as defector, as both Chandrashekar and C.V. Rajappa contested from Shravanabelagola and Sakleshpur Assembly Constituencies on BJP tickets and lost. It was not only in Hassan that the Congress lost. When contacted, Mr. Manju said he did not want to comment on the complaint, as the high command had reposed faith in his ability to organise the party and workers across the district.