Kolar Lok Sabha seat turns battleground for Congress as MLAs threaten to resign

Dissent is over Minister KH Muniyappa, whose daughter is already an MLA, demanding ticket to his son-in-law Chikkapeddanna from Kolar.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published Mar 27, 2024 | 5:19 PMUpdatedMar 27, 2024 | 5:42 PM


Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his deputy DK Shivakumar will chair an emergency meeting late on Wednesday, 27 March, to address the dissent in the Congress regarding the candidate of Kolar Lok Sabha seat.

State Food and Civil Supplies minister KH Muniyappa is demanding to field his son-in-law Chikkapeddanna from the constituency — reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC).

The grand old party is said to be considering his demand.

Former minister Ramesh Kumar’s faction — comprising five legislators, including a Cabinet minister — is against the fielding of Chikkapeddanna.

Also Read: Will Shivakumar become CM of Karnataka? ‘Congress will decide,’ says Deputy CM

Dissent over Muniyappa’s demand

The five legislators are Kolar MLA G Manjunath, Manlur MLA KY Nanjegowda, Chintamani MLA and Higher Education Minister Dr MC Sudhakar, and MLCs Anil Kumar and Chief Minister’s Political Secretary Naseer Ahmed.

Sudhakar and Ahmed have threatened to tender their resignation if the party continues to prioritise the Muniyappa family. More have joined the chorus.

The opposition stems from the fact that Muniyappa’s daughter Roopakala Shashidhar is already an MLA from the Kolar district.

While the party has already fielded three leaders from the Scheduled Caste (right), the party is keen to field SC (left) in the Kolar seat.

However, the state leadership will hold a meeting and finalise the candidate tonight (Wednesday) and the same message will be conveyed to the high command, claimed sources in the party.

Chikkapedanna, Indian Writer and former Rajya Sabha member L Hanumanthaiah and Businessman CK Muniyappa are the three aspirants from Kolar.

The emergency meeting on Wednesday night is not only to finalise the candidate but also to quell the dissent brewing in the party.

The grand-old party has already announced tickets for the 24 constituencies in Karnataka and candidates for Kolar, Chikkaballapura, Chamarajanagar and Bellary constituencies are yet to be declared.

Also Read: Why Karnataka BJP is confident dissent won’t affects its poll prospects

Five MLAs threaten to resign

The announcement of the five legislators threatening to resign if Chikkapedanna is fielded in Kolar has become a headache for the party high command.

“Minister Sudhakar and two other MLAs have booked tickets to Mangaluru to meet Speaker UT Khader to submit their resignation. Two MLCs Anil and Naseer have already met the legislative council chairman Basavaraj Horatti,” a source told South First. Sudhakar later clarified to the media that his Mangaluru plans were put on hold.

“The high command has conveyed to all the disgruntled leaders that the chief minister and the deputy chief minister will be chairing a meeting with all the leaders of Kolar to finalise the candidate on Wednesday night. Ramesh Kumar faction is opposing Muniyappa’s son-in-law’s candidacy,” claimed the source.

Meanwhile, a Cabinet minister, confirmed that some party legislators are threatening to resign over the Kolar ticket.

On condition of anonymity, the minister told South First: “Muniyappa has represented the Kolar (SC) seat for a record seven times. He is demanding a seat for his son-in-law in order to take revenge for the last parliamentary elections, where he had lost.”

“The party has already given tickets to SC (right) in three seats and is thinking of giving SC (left) in Kolar. However, Ramesh Kumar and his faction of five legislators are vehemently opposing Chikkapedanna’s candidacy.”

“They are demanding to field either L Hanumanthaiah or CK Muniyappa. The high command will hold talks with the disgruntled leaders and come to a conclusion on Wednesday night,” elaborated the senior minister.

Also Read: BJP moves EC against Karnataka minister for anti-Modi remarks

CM and DCM to meet disgruntled MLAs

After the five legislators threatened to resign, Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar — also the PCC chief — summoned an emergency meeting with all the Kolar leaders to discuss a suitable nominee.

Soon after the reports emerged that the legislators were flying to Mangaluru to submit their resignation, the high command intervened and pacified the unhappy lawmakers not to go ahead with their resignation plans.

Meanwhile, Bangarapet MLC SN Narayanaswamy told reporters: “The ticket should be given to an SC (right) candidate. I will decide on my move, once the party decides on the Kolar ticket.”

On anonymity, the minister told South First: “Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar will hold talks with all the leaders of Kolar and finalise the ticket on Wednesday night. The legislators have been asked not to take any decision in haste, assuring them of addressing their concerns.”

“They will convey the decision to the high command. The official announcement is expected on the remaining four seats on Thursday. However, the party is keen on giving tickets to SC (left). The final decision will be out in a day or two,” added the minister.

Also Read: Dissent in Congress as aspirants demand reconsideration of candidates

‘Need a winnable candidate’

Meanwhile, Ahmed told reporters in Bengaluru: “The party has to give the ticket to the winnable candidate in the Kolar seat.”

“We had come to resign but the chief minister called me and asked us to wait. He said that he would hold a meeting and discuss it with us. Hence, we are waiting for their arrival.”

“We are opposing the proposed candidature in Kolar. Our sole demand is to field a suitable candidate,” added Ahmed.

However, Horatti confirmed that the Congress MLCs have not yet submitted their resignation letters.

The state leadership entrusted Urban Development and Town Planning Minister Byrati Suresh to pacify the disgruntled party legislators.

“The CM and DyCM have asked me to convince the dissent legislators not to submit their resignation. The candidate for Kolar is yet to be finalised. The candidate will be finalised either on Thursday or Friday,” Suresh told reporters.

(Edited by Muhammed Fazil)