Muralidhara Khajane

Squabbles, lack of leadership prove costly for Congress

Janata Dal (S) wins 36 of 40 zilla panchayat seats Party has captured power in seven taluk panchayats Success attributed to hard work of H.D. Deve Gowda Congress failed to hold district-level meetings

HASSAN: The landslide victory of the Janata Dal (Secular) in Hassan district where it won 36 of the 40 zilla panchayat seats is a repeat of its 1995 performance. The party had secured 34 of 37 zilla panchayat seats when H.D. Deve Gowda was the Chief Minister.

By garnering 103 of the 150 taluk panchayat seats now, the party has gained control over seven taluk panchayats in the district. The Janata Dal (S) has created a record in the State by securing the highest number of seats in the zilla panchayat.

The Congress, which was in power with 19 of the 37 seats, has been dethroned. The party could win just two zilla panchayat seats and 12 taluk panchayat seats in Arsikere.

Development work taken up in Hassan Lok Sabha Constituency was the reason for the Janata Dal (S) victory, according to Public Works Minister H.D. Revanna.

Sources in the party said Mr. Revanna, who is the district in-charge Minister, led the party to victory by touring every village in the district. Leading a team of six legislators, he campaigned for the party projecting development works. Te former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda toured Alur, Sakleshpur and Arkalgud taluks in the last few hours, where there were some problems. Squabbles among the Congress leaders is said to be the reason for the dismal performance of the party. According to S.M.

Anand, MLC, the party leaders failed to present a picture of unity during campaigning and the delay in the appointment of District Congress Committee President and taluk unit presidents contributed to the fall of the party.

The Congress suffered defeat in constituencies in areas where the Minister for Information B. Shivaram, the former MP G.

Puttaswamy Gowda and the former Revenue Minister H.C. Srikantaiah have a strong following.

Mr. Anand said the Congress leaders failed to conduct district-level conventions as planned before the election.

The problem faced by Congress leaders while allotting the ticket to candidates was one of the reasons for the poor performance.

Despite differences between Janata Dal (S) MLA H.S. Vishwanath and B.R. Gurudev, MLC, in Alur-Sakleshpur constituency, Mr. Deve Gowda succeeded in changing the fortunes of the party by touring the constituency in the last minute.

Although there was a feeling among the Congress leaders that Alpasankhyataru Hindulidavaru Mattu Dalitaru (AHINDA) movement will harm the chances of the Janata Dal (S) and help the Congress, considering the massive response to the AHINDA convention held in Hassan in September, their apprehension did not come true.