The Congress on Saturday expelled two party members for contesting against candidates it fielded jointly with ruling coalition partner Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) in two Karnataka Lok Sabha seats.
"Rebel candidates Amrith Shenoy and Shanul Haq have been expelled from the party for contesting against official candidates in Udupi-Chickmagalur and Bidar parliamentary seats," Congress state General Secretary Shafi Hajulla said in a statement here.
Amrit, a popular grassroots level leader from Udupi, is in the fray for the Udupi-Chickmagalur seat as an Independent against JD-S candidate Pramod Madhwaraj. He decided to contest after the Congress opted to hand over the Udupi-Chikkamagaluru constituency over to the JD(S) in spite of the latter's limited presence in the region. The JD(S) could not finalise a candidate from its party and eventually turned to Congress leader Pramod Madhwaraj.
Meanwhile, Shanul is contesting as a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate from Bidar where party's state Working President Eshwar Khandre is the official nominee.
Polling in Udupi-Chickmagalur is on April 18 in the first phase and in Bidar in the second phase on April 23. Vote counts in both the seats are on May 23.
Under the pre-poll seat sharing arrangement, Congress is contesting from 21 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in the state and JD-S in the remaining 7 seats.
Sitting members Shobha Karandlaje and Bhagwanth Khuba (both Bharatiya Janata Party) are re-contesting from Udupi-Chickmagalur and Bidar respectively.
State Congress President Dinesh Gundu Rao warned party's state leaders and cadres working against official candidates of both the ruling allies.
"In the interest of the party, the leaders and cadres in every parliamentary seat have been directed to campaign for the official candidates fielded jointly by the parties. Anti-party activities, including dissidence and revolt against the official candidates will not be tolerated," he said in a statement.
The party is facing revolt in Hassan, Mandya and Tumkur Lok Sabha constituencies where its leaders and cadres are refusing to campaign for the JD-S candidates, all members of the family of former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda.
While Prajwal Revanna is contesting from Hassan, Nikhil Kumaraswamy is in the fray from Mandya. The grandsons of Deve Gowda, they are the sons of state PWD Minister H.D. Revanna and Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy respectively. Deve Gowda is contesting from Tumkur.
Meanwhile, in Mysore, JD-S leaders and cadres have refused to campaign for Congress candidate Vijayashankar, contesting against BJP's outgoing member Pratap Simha.
Though both the allies fought against each other in the May 2018 assembly elections, they formed a post-poll alliance to form the coalition government to keep the BJP out of power in the state.