MLC election: ‘BJP troubled by rebel candidates, Congress has no such problem’

A file photo of KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar.   | Photo Credit: Sudhakara Jain

BJP is facing problems from its rebel candidates in the legislative council polls in several districts of Karnataka, but there is no such problem in the Congress, D.K. Shivakumar, KPCC president, said in Belagavi on December 6.

“In most districts, Congress leaders and workers have accepted our choice of candidates and are working for them. Only in one place, there were some differences among some leaders. We resolved them. Everywhere else, we are united. But BJP is suffering from internal differences. At many places, there are two stages on a single stage. There is confusion among workers. There are rebel BJP candidates at several places. We don’t have a rebel candidate anywhere. We don’t have leaders who have betrayed the party,” he said in a oblique reference to Ramesh Jarkiholi, BJP MLA who has openly supported his brother Lakhan Jarkiholi, who is contesting as an independent candidate in Belagavi.

He alleged that the BJP was unable to end the differences among its leaders. “The national party, which is in power at the Centre and in the State, is unable to manage such differences. Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai is helpless,” he said.

He also claimed that some BJP leaders were trying to destabilise their government is Karnataka. “We are not doing it. They are doing it,” he said.

About fielding one candidate in each of the five double member seats, he said the Congress does not want division of votes among two candidates.

“You cannot accuse only the Congress of nepotism. All parties have fielded family members in these polls. This trend is seen across north and south Karnataka. We decided upon Channaraj Hattiholi as we wanted to create opportunities for youngsters. But now he has the support of all Congress leaders and workers across Belagavi district. Frankly, I had not expected this,” he said.

He said that the Congress is in support of holding the winter session of the Karnataka legislature in Belagavi. “If it is shifted to Bengaluru, we will organise an intensive agitation across Karnataka. I have told this to the Speaker,” he said.

Mr. Shivakumar complained that the BJP government had failed to provide proper flood relief compensation to the farmers who had lost crops, houses, animals or bread-winners. “A group of around 40 women met me in Ramdurg. They had lost houses and crops two years ago, but had not got proper relief from the government. They said they will ask the State Government for permission to commit mass suicide. They are upset with the government for its negligent attitude. We will raise this issue during the session. We will also raise issues like delay in execution of Mahadayi project. Why is Goa with just one Member of Parliament gaining the upper hand over Karnataka that has 28 MPs? Who should answer this?

“I had thought that as irrigation minister, Basavaraj Bommai would do something for the benefit of our farmers. But he has failed to do so. He did not carry forward the Mahadayi project. Now, he has further proved that he is a weak CM. Recently, a BJP leader claimed that Murugesh Nirani would be the next CM. But Mr. Nirani should have clarified about it on the spot. He did not. He issued a statement later. This proves that the CM is not strong.”

He claimed that former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa is making false allegations against the Congress. “Actually, he is angry with the BJP leadership, but is unable to complain against his own party. That is why is talking about us. He is a sad, angry and upset with his own party. We all know that,” he claimed.

He demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi order an inquiry into the allegation by contractors that they were forced to cough up 40% of a project cost as bribe in Karnataka. He claimed that the association of contractors has given a list of the percentage of bribes to be paid to legislators and ministers.

“K.S. Eshwarappa has asked why I went to Tihar jail. They threw me in jail as I refused to join the BJP,” he said.

“Mr. Bommai has alleged that Congress is fielding wealthy persons in the legislative council polls, as we do not have deserving candidates. That is not true. We are fighting for social justice and have given tickets to backward classes and minority leaders. BJP has not given tickets to members of such communities. They don’t even have a welfare scheme for the poor and deprived communities. K.G.F. Babu, one of the candidates, has declared a high income as he has a flourishing business. It is wrong to cast aspersions about his income,” he said. He accused the BJP of poaching some wealthy Congress leaders in the past.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 5:00:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/mlc-election-bjp-troubled-by-rebel-candidates-congress-has-no-such-problem/article37866281.ece

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