- Party workers say they will not canvass for coalition candidate in Mysuru-Kodagu
- GTD tries to placate agitated party workers and requests to follow ‘coalition dharma’
Mysuru: A day after JD(S) leader and District Minister G.T. Devegowda (GTD) and former Chief Minister Siddharamaiah let bygones be bygones and broke the ice by holding talks to strategise for the Mysuru-Kodagu Lok Sabha polls, GTD held a meeting with members of Zilla Panchayat, Taluk Panchayat, Gram Panchayat and ground-level JD(S) workers from Chamundeshwari Assembly segment at a private hotel in city this morning that was marked by confusion and chaos.
Congress candidate C.H. Vijayashankar is contesting as an alliance candidate in Siddharamaiah’s home district. The former CM was handed a crushing defeat by Devegowda in Chamundeshwari in Mysuru in the Assembly elections in May 2018. Since then, the two leaders were not on talking terms.
The leaders came face-to-face yesterday in Bengaluru and shook hands to forget the past after former PM H.D. Deve Gowda stated that neither the JD(S) nor its candidate defeated Siddharamaiah in the Assembly polls. During the meeting, both leaders decided to set aside differences and forget the bitterly fought Assembly elections in the larger interest of keeping the BJP returning to power.
At today’s meeting at a private hotel in Mysuru, most of the JD(S) party workers and leaders expressed their reservation about supporting Congress candidates. The meeting was chaired by GTD. JD(S) State President A.H. Vishwanath, Tourism Minister S.R. Mahesh, MLC Marithibbegowda, KEA Chairman Abdul Azeez and others were present.
Before the meeting, the leaders huddled together for breakfast and discussed ways and means to convince the party workers. The leaders entered the meeting hall at around 11.25 am and initially, Vishwanath addressed the gathering and said that JD(S) activists must support and work for the victory of coalition candidate Vijayashankar.
Minister S.R. Mahesh and Marithibbegowda also addressed the party workers even as the crowd raised their objections and shouted slogans. Chaos began as soon as Mahesh and Marithibbegowda were addressing the gathering. Some of the JD(S) workers alleged in raised voice that during the Assembly elections false cases were foisted against them for supporting GTD.
One of the workers said, “Siddharamaiah was the CM then and as we supported GTD, many false cases were lodged against us and our vehicles were seized. We were forced to run around Police Stations and Courts. In such a situation, how can we support Congress candidate.”
He was joined by many other local leaders who echoed similar sentiments and said that the Congress was unfair to them and their families and Siddharamaiah practiced ‘revenge politics’ and had unnecessarily created troubles for JD(S) workers.
Intervening in the melee, GTD said that every JD(S) worker in Chamundeshwari has experienced difficulties during the Assembly polls. “Due to coalition compulsions now, we have to campaign for coalition candidate. Even CM H.D. Kumaraswamy has sacrificed a lot and is running the government and it is our duty to save the State government,” he said.
GTD further said that on Apr. 7, both Congress and JD(S) leaders will hold a joint press conference in Mysuru to dispel any doubts in supporting the coalition candidate. “Before that I will hold a meeting with you again and will appeal to support Vijayashankar,” he said.