The Congress party in Karnataka on Friday managed to avert a crisis in its coalition with the JD(S) by prevailing upon two leaders to withdraw their nomination from the Tumkur constituency, which has been granted by the Congress to the JD(S) under a seat-sharing deal for the Lok Sabha elections.
The two Congress rebels — sitting MP Mudda Hanumegowda and former MLA K N Rajanna, a follower of former chief minister Siddaramaiah — filed their nomination papers despite JD(S) president H D Deve Gowda’s decision to contest from the Tumkur seat.
While Hanumegowda, who was upset over his seat being given to the JD(S) filed his nomination as a Congress candidate, Rajanna filed as an Independent. Both leaders announced their decision to withdraw their nominations in the interest of the Congress party and its leaders.
“Congress party president Rahul Gandhi spoke to me, K C Venugopal spoke to me, the KPCC president, the Deputy Chief Minister and CLP leader Siddaramaiah all spoke to me and dissuaded me from contesting the polls, saying the coalition is at stake,” Hanumegowda said following a meeting with Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara and KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao.
Hanumegowda indicated that he would withdraw his nomination after consulting his supporters in Tumkur. Parameshwara later stated that Hanumegowda had withdrawn his nomination through an associate in Tumkur.
The sitting MP said he was still undecided on campaigning for Deve Gowda. In the past, Hanumegowda was with the JD(S) and switched to the Congress around 2013 after he was denied a party ticket.
Click here for more election news
Deve Gowda picked the Tumkur seat to contest the Lok Sabha polls after vacating his home constituency of Hassan to facilitate the entry of his grandson Prajwal Revanna into electoral politics. The JD(S) leader picked Tumkur over Bangalore North, which was also available to the JD(S) under the impression that Congress leaders in Tumkur would be more accomodative than leaders in Bangalore North seat who are mostly allied with Siddaramaiah.
The Congress is battling dissidence in several seats given to the JD(S), including Hassan and Mandya, where local leaders have opposed the introduction of Deve Gowda’s grandsons. In Hassan, former Congress minister A Manju has joined the BJP to take on Deve Gowda’s grandson Prajwal Revanna while in Mandya, Sumalatha Ambareesh, the wife of late Congress MP M H Ambareesh, has entered the fray as an Independent to battle Nikhil Kumaraswamy, the son of Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and another grandson of Deve Gowda.