Cong to pit Hegde's daughter against HDK

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Bangalore, Apr 23: Congress in Karantaka has sprang a surprise by deciding to field Mamatha Nichani, daughter of former Karnataka Chief Minister Ramakrishna Hegde, a bete noire of former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, from Ramanagaram assembly seat where JD(S) leader and former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy is seeking re-election.

The Congress high command, which had kept the name of the party candidate to contest from the seat as a guarded secret till last minute announced the candidature of Mamatha for the seat at the eleventh hour. The last day of nominations for the first phase of elections ended today. Congress in Karnataka nursing a grouse against Mr Kumaraswamy for toppling the first ever coalition government in February 2006.

In a coop of sorts, Mr Kumaraswamy took with him a large chunk of JD(S) legislators and tied-up with BJP and formed another coalition government.

He had led the of party legislators 'revolt' and the Congress-JD(S) coalition government led by N Dharam Singh fell.

Later he again refused to honour political pact with BJP and hand-over power to it for the remaining period of 20 months in October 2007 which had led to the fall of the first ever BJP-led government in the South.

Mr Kumaraswamy also thwarted Congress attempt to come back to power taking support of M P Prakash group in JD(S) by extending olive branch again to BJP only to withdraw it again forcing the dissolution of Karnataka assembly and President's rule in the state.

With the announcement of three phase elections to Karnataka assembly in May the former Chief Minister filed his nomination papers seeking re-election from Ramanagaram constituency.

While BJP had announced local leader Rudresh as its nominee, the Congress had maintained secret about its contestant's name and announced to the surprise to all the name of Mamatha, a political novice.

Former Legislator C M Lingappa who had got elected from Ramanagaram assembly seat in the past also had filed his nomination papers. However had not submitted party's official 'B' form paving the way for Mamata to become the Congress candidate.

The decision of Congress to field Mamata has created ripples in the JD(S) circle. Congress seems to have favoured to ride on the popularity of former Chief Minister Ramakrishna Hegde, who had passed away four years ago to make Kumaraswamy bite the dust.

Ironically Congress choosing Mamatha whose father, Mr Hegde was instrumental in the formation of first-ever non-Congress government in Karnataka. Actually he did it twice in 1983 and 1985.


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