Two women rebel candidates remain in fray

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Mangalore, May 3 (UNI) Two women candidates in Puttur constituency in Daxina Kannada district, who have hoisted the rebel flag against their parties have remained in final fray, as the last date for withdrawal of nominations come to a close, making the victory unsure for both the BJP and the Congress parties.

The last minute efforts by the leaders from the Congress and the BJP to convince the rebel candidates for patch up and to make them to withdraw from the contest in favour of the official candidates in Puttur Assembly segment had ultimately failed, as the rebels from these two parties have made their mind to remain in the battle field and contest as independents, even after closure of the last date of withdrawal of nominations yesterday.

Though the local top Congress leaders could manage to control the damage to the party by convincing rebels to withdraw from contesting in other constituencies, such as, Mangalore South, they were unsuccessful in Puttur, where Congress rebel candidate Nalini Lokesh Gowda, who failed to get the party ticket, remained firm on her stand to contest the election as an independent.

Ms Gowda also clarified that there was no question of retreating from the contest. She was contesting as a rebel Congress candidate, as the party had failed to give representation to Gowda community during the last 40 years.

On the other hand, the BJP was facing stiff fight from the party's former MLA Shakunthala T Shetty, who was denied ticket to contest for second-term from Puttur. Rebelling against the party leaders for denying the ticket, despite pressurising the party, Ms Shetty is now contesting as an Independent.

Known as 'firebrand' of the party in the district, Ms Shetty did not in any way felt under pressure from the senior party leaders, including the state party chief and Mangalore MP D V Sadananda Gowda and former minister and senior state vice-president Dr V S Acharya, among others.

Mr Gowda was worried, as he had to face the rebel candidate in his own home town constituency of Puttur. Ms Shetty was denied the party ticket, following her failure to perform creditably as party MLA in Puttur and criticism levelled by her against her party leaders, party sources said.

Ms Shetty got her party ticket allegedly due to an RSS leader's influence and the loyalty commanded by her from RSS workers. Rama Bhat, a former party MLA had also extended his support to her.

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