KARNATAKA

Competition among Congress aspirants in Shravanabelagola

HASSAN, FEB. 26. There appears to be competition among contenders from the Congress for the Shravanabelagola constituency in Hassan district with four aspirants filing applications with the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee for nomination.

The constituency was represented by the district in-charge and Revenue Minister, H.C. Srikantaiah, in the last Assembly.

As the party in the constituency is said to be "divided'' with one group supporting Mr. Srikantaiah and the other ranged against him, the Pradesh Congress Committee is in a fix over issuing the party ticket.

The taluk Congress leaders who are said to be unhappy with the functioning of the Minister and his son, H.S. Vijaya Kumar, recently convened a meeting in Channarayapatna with a view to what they said rejuvenating the party. A Pradesh Congress Committee observer, Nazeer Ahmed, attended the meeting.

The dissident leaders, including a three-time Primary Land Development Bank President, Chandre Gowda, the General Secretary of the Pradesh Congress Committee, C.V. Rajappa, and a senior party leader, C.N. Jayaram, criticised the Minister and his son in front of the observer.

The observer who had been directed by the Pradesh Congress Committee President, B. Janardhana Poojary, to stall the meeting failed to do so. The observer has promised the dissidents that he would communicate the views of the party workers to the Pradesh Congress Committee leaders.

But the dissident leaders have alleged that even the Pradesh Congress Committee observer has failed in doing justice to them.

The differences in the Channarayapatna taluk unit of the party came to the fore in the form of a recent decision of the dissidents to move a no-confidence motion against the President of Didaga Gram Panchayat.

The dissidents, headed by Didaga Balakrishna, in fact succeeded in their endeavour. But the group said to be opposed to the motion reportedly attacked villages represented by those supporting the move causing injuries to a few people.

While such is the situation in Channarayapatna taluk with Mr. Srikantaiah not showing any interest in contesting the Assembly elections, his son has applied to the Pradesh Congress Committee seeking the party's nomination from the constituency.

Defending his son's effort to get the party ticket, Mr. Srikantaiah has said that Mr. Vijaya Kumar can stake claim as he has worked for the constituency in his (Minister) absence.

However, with a view to thwart Mr. Vijaya Kumar, the dissident group is supporting Mr. Chandre Gowda, who has also applied to the Pradesh Congress Committee seeking the party ticket.

In an interesting development, nearly 1,000 supporters of Mr. Chandre Gowda left here on Thursday for Bangalore to pressure the Pradesh Congress Committee leaders to nominate their leader.

Mr. Rajappa has also accompanied them.