Bengaluru: The Karnataka Congress has dismissed seven of its block presidents in Mandya district for failing to toe the party line to support the candidature of Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy's son Nikhil.
Ever since it was announced that Mandya Lok Sabha seat would go to the JD(S) as per the coalition agreement, the Congress has been besieged by protests in this south Karnataka district.
Party workers are up in arms against their state leadership, saying that late actor Ambareesh's wife Sumalatha should have been given the ticket.
They argued that even if Sumalatha was not fielded, they should not have been forced to campaign for yet another grandson of Deve Gowda.
The Congress has held several rounds of meetings to quell the rebellion, and persuade these local functionaries to look at the “larger interest of how secular forces must unite”.
Last week, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, too, had put out a video on social media urging the party cadre to support the joint candidate.
The Mandya functionaries dismissed on Friday are Mandya Rural Block Congress Committee (BCC) president H Appaji, Bharatinagar BCC president A S Rajev, Malavalli Rural BCC president Puttaramu, Malavalli urban BCC president KG Devaraju, Nagamangala city BCC president M Prasanna, KR Pet BCC president KR Ravendra Babu and Melukote BCC president SB Prakash.
While the party is also facing discontent among party workers in other districts like Tumkur, it has not been as high and outspoken as Mandya.
Many workers have even taken along Congress flags to campaigns of Sumalatha, who is contesting as an independent but is backed by the BJP.
The Congress state leadership had warned its cadre that if they don't fall in line, serious action will be taken against them before Rahul Gandhi's visit on Saturday.
The party is also worried if their workers don't support the JDS candidate, it would have a ripple effect in other districts like Mysore, where it needs the support of JDS workers for their candidate. In fact, Mysore JDS workers had raised this question during their meetings two days ago.