Congress leader accuses ex-MLA of diverting funds to BJP to beat Deve Gowda

A Congress leader in Karnataka has accused a former MLA of the party and his close aides of sabotaging the coalition’s chances in the Lok Sabha elections where it won only two of the 28 seats.

R Ramakrishna, the Tumakuru district president of the Congress, has written a letter to the party’s senior leaders and AICC general secretary KC Venugopal, who is in charge of the state, asking him to take disciplinary action against former MLA KN Rajanna, accusing the latter of bribing voters to vote for the BJP.

The Congress-JD(S) coalition had been caught unawares by its near decimation by the BJP, which won 25 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats. This was especially so because the coalition had expected stalwarts like Deve Gowda to pull through.

But the former prime minister lost to GS Basavaraju of the BJP by a margin of 13,339 votes. Out of the seven seats that the JD(S) contested, it won only the Hassan seat which Deve Gowda had vacated in favour of his grandson Prajwal Revanna.

The Congress had decided to forego its claim on the Tumakuru seat despite having won it in 2014, because it chose to contest from the Mysuru seat instead.

Deve Gowda had picked the Tumakuru seat calculating that the sizeable Vokkaliga

community in the district would help him sail through as his opponent belonged to the Lingayat sect in a clash of the dominant groups of the state. However, this decision came at a price with the sitting Congress MP S P Muddahanumegowda and former MLA Rajanna revolting against the move.

In his letter, Ramakrishna highlighted the fact that of the eight assembly segments, the Madhugiri segment was expected to be the most comfortable for Deve Gowda. However, in the seat Basavaraju got a lead of 10,000 votes.

“The primary reason for this was that former MLA Rajanna, youth Congress leader R Rajendra (and others)… distributed money in favour of the BJP and even ensured that votes were given only to BJP. Even the funds given by the Congress party was distributed to BJP voters and it is because of this that the BJP was able to get 72,909 votes in the segment,” Ramakrishna said in the letter.

Of the eight assembly segments, Basavaraju led in five and most surprisingly in Madhugiri. This is because in the assembly elections of 2018, the seat was won by the JD(S) and Rajanna of the Congress came second. Together the two parties had received 1.58 lakh of the 1.66 lakh votes polled and the BJP had only received 2,911 votes.

Similarly, in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Muddahanumegowda of the Congress had got a lead of around 38,000 votes in Madhugiri assembly constituency against Basavaraj.

This comes in the backdrop of the tacit support Congress leaders in Mandya gave Independent MP Sumalatha Ambareesh rather than the coalition candidate Nikhil Kumaraswamy, the other grandson of Deve Gowda contesting the polls. Additionally, the JD(S) minister GT Deve Gowda admitted that his party workers had supported the BJP at some places in the Mysuru seat.

The Congress has so far not acted on Ramakrishna’s complaint with its leaders busy ensuring the safety of the coalition government in the state. Venugopal has been in the city since Tuesday and a senior Congress leader said some symbolic action might be expected

First Published:
Jun 01, 2019 16:27 IST

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