KARNATAKA

Mysore Congress leaders jostle for position

Laiqh A. Khan

Siddaramaiah-M. Mahadev clash may be only the beginning

MYSORE: The unruly scenes at the Youth Congress convention here on Sunday, where the former Deputy Chief Minister Siddaramaiah almost came to blows with the former Minister M. Mahadev, may be only the beginning of intra-party squabbles arising from the ongoing realignment of political forces in the State.

Ever since Mr. Siddaramaiah and the former Union Minister V. Srinivas Prasad quit the Janata Dal (Secular) to join the Congress, differences have erupted in the party with Congressmen in the region who have been in the party for a long time engaged in a ‘cold war’ with the new entrants and their large number of followers.

Mr. Mahadev, who incurred Mr. Siddaramaiah’s wrath for making uncharitable remarks about the new entrants, had publicly opposed the entry of Mr. Prasad into the party.

Grouse

After Mr. Prasad’s joined the party, Mr. Mahadev, who represented Nanjangud Assembly constituency in the previous term of the Assembly, nursed a strong grouse against the new entrants for not inviting him to party functions in Chamarajanagar district.

Mr. Mahadev, who was not invited for three recent Congress meetings at Santhemarahalli in Chamarajanagar district, was apparently angry with the former Santhemarahalli MLA R. Dhruvanarayan, also a new entrant, for the lapse. Incidentally, Mr. Siddaramaiah was invited for the meetings and attended them.

Just before trouble broke out at the Youth Congress meeting, Mr. Mahadev identified Mr. Dhruvanarayan as being among the new entrants who were riding roughshod over “loyalist” Congress workers. Mr. Mahadev even referred to Mr. Dhruvanarayan as a “migrant” who had won the election by a margin of one vote.

Differences to the fore

The simmering differences between the “loyalists” and “migrants” in the Congress also surfaced during the process of selecting candidates for the recently held elections to the Mysore City Corporation. With many aspirants clamouring for a chance to contest, a meeting of “loyalist” Congressmen was held at the residence of the former Mayor Vasu to appeal to the leadership to consider candidates having a long association with the party. The new entrants to the party, most of whom are supporters of Mr. Siddaramaiah, stayed away from the meeting.

With the Assembly having been dissolved, the time has come for the eight former MLAs, who are supporters of Mr. Siddaramaiah, to join the Congress, much to the chagrin of the “loyalist” partymen who are apprehensive of losing opportunities to the new entrants.

The acrimonious scenes witnessed on Sunday forced Mr. Siddaramaiah to drive home the point that the eight former MLAs supporting him would not only be joining the party, but had also been promised by the high command that they would get the party ticket to contest the next Assembly elections.

Protests organised by various organisations denouncing Mr. Siddaramaiah’s behaviour continued in different parts of Mysore and Chamarajanagar district for the second day on Monday.

Problems in BJP

The entry of the former Minister G.T. Deve Gowda into the Bharatiya Janata Party is also expected to trigger resentment among senior BJP leaders in the region. The BJP leadership’s decision to project Mr. Gowda, who quit the JD(S) recently, as a leader of the party in the region, is believed to not have gone down well with senior BJP leaders in Mysore district.

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