Rebellion has struck the Congress party with party leaders and workers from Mandya openly criticising the party's leadership for aligning with the JD(S).
Speaking to the media on Tuesday, former Congress representative in Mandya City Council, Anil Kumar warned Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar of backlash if he tried to convince party workers to support the JD(S).
DK Shivakumar- the Congress' troubleshooter- was sent to Mandya last week to pacify angry local leaders and party workers. DK Shivakumar had organised a dinner party for the local leaders on Sunday, but not many showed up.
"If you (referring to DK Shivakumar) come to Mandya with the intent to address the issues of Congress party workers, we will welcome you with open arms. If you come here as an agent of JD(S), we will sit down and protest under the banner 'Go back DKS'. In 1994 you (DK Shivakumar) won the elections in Kanakpura as an independent. If the Congress had taken action to suppress you, you would not have become a Congress leader now," Anil Kumar said.
Anil Kumar also said that Congress leaders in Mandya are suffering every day as they do not have adequate representation. He went on to say that the party needs a strong face who would address the issues of party workers and the people of Mandya.
"If the seniors decide to support the JD(S) candidate, the Congress leaders from Mandya and party workers will support Sumalatha and we will ensure that she wins," Anil Kumar said.
Sumalatha is an actor and wife of late Congress leader and MP Ambareesh. When Sumalatha had expressed her wish to contest election, both Congress and JD(S) did not support her.
Anil Kumar also took a dig at Chief Minister Kumaraswamy and Nikhil Gowda by saying that the local leaders in Mandya Congress would never allow Nikhil Gowda to win.
"Father and mother both contested from Ramanagara (Bengaluru Rural parliamentary constituency). Let him (Nikhil Gowda) go there and leave Mandya alone. After so many years, Sumalatha has finally shown interest in our problems. We will support her," he added.
Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy's son Nikhil Gowda had announced last week that he was the Congress-JD(S) coalition's pick to contest polls from Mandya. A week before he made this announcement, Nikhil Gowda rented a huge bungalow in Mandya.
Ever since the pre-poll alliance was announced, the JD(S) and Congress leaders in Mandya have been at loggerheads with the Congress party workers refusing to work with their JD(S) counterparts and vice versa.
On Monday, Congress leader Cheluvarayaswamy, JD(S) incumbent MP LR Shivarame Gowda met with BJP leaders Raju Gowda and R Ashoka at a private hotel in Bengaluru. JD(S) insiders say that the leaders decided that they would support Sumalatha if the coalition decides to field Nikhil Gowda.
"Congress party relies on the Dalit, Adivasi, OBC and minority votes in Mandya. These voters make 60% of the vote bank. Vokkaligas form 30% and Lingayats the remaining 10%. If we field Nikhil Gowda, then 60% of the votes will go to Sumalatha or it will be split between BJP and Sumalatha. We will lose the election and our fortress. Why is this not being considered as a threat?" a Congress leader questioned.