Both the Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress are facing dissent within their ranks as upset leaders who did not get tickets to contest the Karnataka polls are voicing their unhappiness openly.
But in Tumakuru’s Pavagada, where the BJP has not yet even announced its candidates, revolt has already arisen.
Supporters of two local leaders – Krishna Naik and Kothanur Hanumantharayappa – vandalized the BJP office in Pavagada City, apparently miffed over rumours of a new candidate GV Balaram getting the ticket.
Over 200 supporters of both Naik and Hanumantharayappa gathered outside the party office, shouting slogans against the top leaders in the BJP’s Karnataka unit. A few enraged supporters broke open the door of the office, barged in and began throwing tables and chairs around.
“For the past one-and-a-half years, Krishna Naik and Kothanur Hanumantharayappa have been campaigning in Pavagada for the BJP, where the party is weak. They also managed to build up a considerable support base here. Now talks in the BJP are that Balaram will get the ticket and they are not happy,” a source in the party said.
BJP insiders say that GV Balaram is the former Director of the Pavagada Solar Plant. Over three months ago, he tendered his resignation to pursue his political aspirations.
“He initially wanted to join the Congress and obtain a ticket to contest from Pavagada, but the party had already decided to field a local strongman, Venkataramanappa. Since he did not get a Congress ticket, he joined the BJP. Balaram is from Pavagada and has more money than both Naik and Hanumantharayappa combined. Both these disgruntled leaders feel that the money factor is why their efforts are being sidelined,” the source added.
Supporters of the disgruntled leaders allege that DK Shivakumar, the incumbent Energy Minister, who is close to several BJP leaders in the region, is responsible for Balaram likely being favoured for the ticket.
“DK Shivakumar and Balaram were close as they both have worked together. Since the Congress did not offer him a ticket, DK Shivakumar, who has connections with some BJP leaders in Tumakuru, has pushed for Balaram’s candidature. He has convinced BJP leaders that Blaaram can invest more in the campaign and can win,” one of the irate supporters of Krishna Naik and Kothanur Hanumantharayappa told TNM.
However, BJP leaders in the Tumakuru unit denied these allegations and said that they would never side with the Congress and can never be on good terms with Congress leaders.