Firoz Rozindar

Many leaders have filed papers as independents

Congress rebel A.V. Umapati will fight elections independently

Geeta Nandini Gowda was instead chosen to contest from Hiriyur

Chitradurga: The problem of the Congress party in Hiriyur constituency seems to be aggravating, after more rebel candidates started filing their nomination papers on Tuesday.

The discontent has further shown signs of increase after former MLA A.V. Umapati filed his nomination papers. He has sought to contest as an independent. Earlier, speculations were raised over his joining the Janata Dal (Secular) to contest from Hosadurga.

Mr. Umapati, who lost his constituency after the delimitation exercise, as it has now been reserved for Schedule Castes, was seeking ticket for Hiriyur. But, the party chose to nominate zilla panchayat president Geeta Nandini Gowda.

It is learnt that Mr. Umapati even knocked at the doors of the Bahujan Samaj Party, but in vain, after his supporters urged him not to join the Janata Dal (S). He decided to contest from Hiriyur as an independent candidate.

Other Congress leaders, who could affect Ms. Gowda’s chances of victory, are district party president R. Manjunath, the former Challakere MLA D. Sudhakar and G.S. Manjunath of the BJP. While Mr. Sudhakar has stated that he was contesting as an independent candidate, the other two had openly rebelled against the party.

When denied ticket, a few days ago, several supporters of Mr. Manjunath ransacked the district Congress office as a mark of protest.

It is still uncertain whether all the rebels will remain in the fray or withdraw their nominations before Wednesday, the last day for filing papers. The Janata Dal (S) is also grappling with the rebel menace in Hiriyur.

Here, the party has given ticket to its district president D. Yashodhar, but a disgruntled zilla panchayat member M. Jayanna has filed his nomination papers as an independent.