Congress has egg on face in Karnataka

April 30th, 2008 - 9:53 pm ICT by admin  

Bangalore, April 30 (IANS) The Congress in Karnataka was Wednesday caught in an embarrassing situation as a squabble between two contenders left it without a candidate in one of the constituencies where by-elections are to be held in May. Poll officials of the Davangere North assembly constituency rejected the nomination papers of former Congress minister S.S. Mallikarjun as his ‘B’ form, which the political parties give to their official candidates, was found to be defective.

The loss of face for the Congress followed high drama Tuesday, the last day for filing nominations for the second phase of polling May 16.

The Congress chose minority community leader Syed Saifulla as its nominee over Mallikarjun as it had decided not to give party ticket to relatives of party leaders who have already been nominated.

Mallikarjun’s father Shamanur Shivashankarappa, who is the Congress treasurer in the state, has already been given ticket to contest from the neighbouring Davangere South constituency.

With just a few hours for the close of the nominations Tuesday, the party ferried the ‘B’ form in a chopper from Bangalore to Davangere, about 250 km away, and handed it over to Saifulla.

However, Mallikarjun’s supporters raised objections and reportedly took away the form from Saifulla. His name was erased from the form and Mallikarjun filled his own in its place and submitted the papers, according to Saifulla.

Saifulla later complained to the officials about the incident.

During scrutiny of the papers Wednesday, the constituency’s returning officer Panduranga rejected Mallikarjun’s nomination, leaving the Congress without a candidate in the arena.

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