Staff Correspondent

He was made to ’surrender’ his ‘B’ form to party colleague

Syed Saifulla’s name was erased and

S.S. Mallikarjun’s included in the form

This can result in the invalidation of candidature

DAVANGERE: Congress workers and followers of S.S. Mallikarjun on Tuesday, asked Syed Saifulla, to whom the party had issued the “B” form, to sacrifice his ticket and ensure that the former was allowed to contest the polls. Some Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) members, who had brought the form in a private helicopter from Bangalore were also threatened with dire consequences if Mr. Mallikarjun was not nominated.

The three KPCC members, who brought the “B” form were forcibly kept in a room near the Corporation office and prevented from handing it over to Mr. Saifulla. K.G. Shivakumar, former president of the Davangere City Municipality, told them that the Congress had gained popularity in the district only because of Mr. Mallikarjun’s father Shyamanur Shivashankarappa. He questioned the rationale behind depriving him of party ticket. A party worker tried in vain to snatch away the bag containing the “B” form. Another worker told the members that they would not be allowed to leave the city if they did not give Mr. Mallikarjun the “B” form.

The KPCC members Manjunath Bhandari, Balraj and Harinder Mirdha were made to sit in a police jeep outside the city corporation office. Mr. Bhandari later informed Congress leader and party affairs in-charge for Karnataka, Prithvi Raj Chavan, of the developments. Superintendent of Police Sonia Narang also visited the Corporation office and asked the KPCC members if they encountered any problems with regard to handing over the “B” form. They said they had been waiting for Mr. Saifulla, who was taken in for a discussion at a guest house.

Ms. Narang told them that they could submit the form even in the absence of the candidate and asked them to deposit it with the Returning Officer. She took them to the office, but found Mr. Saifulla and Mr. Mallikarjun present there. Mr. Saifulla declared that he would sacrifice his “B” form in favour of Mr. Mallikarjun.

Later, they erased Mr. Saifulla’s name and included Mr. Mallikarjun’s name in the form, unmindful of the fact that such a change might disqualify their candidature.