Daijiworld Media Network – Bangalore (SP)

Bangalore, Apr 17: The Congress, which had smelled an opportunity to win over the hearts of the electorate this time, has a big problem at hand to handle. The open rebellion of party workers against several candidates chosen by the leaders is becoming a hard nut to crack. A number of disappointed leaders and their supporters took to streets, openly abused the party leaders, vandalized party offices at various places, and declared  open rebellion against party leadership and threatened to join other parties, on Tuesday. Still, neither Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee, nor the high command seem to have made even a semblance of effort to bring the situation under control.

The tussle for supremacy between rebel star, Ambareesh, and union minister, S M Krishna in Mandya district, rebellion of candidates who are denied a ticket in Chikballapur district, and open revolt in Sriranga patna, Bhadravati, Bellary, Mulbagal, Davangere and Hebbal constituencies, have become too hot to handle for the party. With the release of the third list of official candidates by the party late night on Monday, the situation vitiated further.

In Mandya district, district Congress spokesperson, Satyananda, openly branded Ambareesh as a blackmailer. Ambareesh had threatened not to contest from Mandya constituency if ticket is not issued from Srirangapatna constituency to his loyalist, Lingaraju, in place of Ravindra Srikantaiah. The party, buckling under pressure, replaced Ravindra, a loyalist of S M Krishna, with Lingaraju, setting into motion a flurry of criticisms from party workers. Mandya district Congress has decided to remain neutral in Mandya constituency where Ambareesh is the party candidate.

In Chikballapur, followers of Anjinappa, who failed to get a ticket from the Congress, broke the window panes of the district Congress office. Anjinappa himself appeared in the presence of newspersons, and accused both S M Krishna and Veerappa Moily of hatching a conspiracy to deny him a party ticket. At Bhadravati, current MLA, Sangameshwar, who has been denied a ticket, came down heavily against the state leadership of the party for favouring Ibrahim in his place. He also has announced his decision to contest as an independent candidate. Various office bearers of the party at different levels have resigned from their posts in the constituency, to show solidarity with Sangameshwar.

In Bellary, 20 corporators threatened to resign if Diwakar Babu is denied a ticket. H M Revanna, angry over issuance of ticket to Rehman Shariff, grandson of Jaffer Shariff, instead of him from Hebbal constituency, held two meetings of his supporters. Revanna is likely to take a decision on fighting the election as an independent or on behalf of some other party, today. In Davangere, Shamanur Shivashankarappa, who has already secured a ticket from Davangere south constituency, is pressurizing the party to issue a ticket to his son, S S Mallikarjun, from Davangere north constituency.

The picture is likely to become clearer once the time for the filing of nominations ends today evening. It is a situation which is hard to grapple with, and unless efforts are made to tackle the rebellion, the party may suffer a setback in several constituencies, political analysts feel.