Bengaluru: With efforts to tide over local opposition to JD(S) candidate and Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy's son Nikhil in Mandya Lok Sabha constituency bearing no fruit, state Congress strongman Siddaramaiah Monday appealed to leaders and workers of both parties through a video to work unitedly.
Upset over the party conceding the seat to JDS, the local Congress leaders and workers in Mandya have been strongly opposing the candidature of Nikhil and openly stated that they would not work for his victory.
"Nikhil Kumaraswamy is contesting as the coalition candidate from Mandya Lok Sabha constituency.
I request Congress leaders and workers and JD(S) leaders and workers to campaign unitedly and get votes for Nikhil Kumaraswamy and bless him," Siddaramaiah said in the video message.
Also appealing to voters of Mandya to bless him, he said "Deve Gowda and I on April 12 will campaign together for Nikhil Kumaraswamy."
Interestingly, the video appeal was tweeted by Chief Minster H D Kumaraswamy.
"The call by the Congress-JD(S) coalition coordination committee Chairman Siddaramaiah to workers of both parties to face the election unitedly and to ensure Nikhil's victory in Mandya is timely.
Let workers of both parties work unitedly in all 28 constituencies and strive for the victory of our candidates," Kumaraswamy tweeted along with the video.
Congress and JD(S) that have decided to face the polls together are contesting in 21 and seven constituencies respectively.
Congress leaders in Mandya are miffed over the party's decision to cede the seat to JD(S) and have stayed away from campaigning, with most of them even extendingsupport to independent candidate Sumalatha Ambareesh, who hasBJP's support on her side.
Siddaramaiah had recently called a meeting of Congress leaders from Mandya and cautioned them aboutthe repercussions in Mysore if they don't support JD(S) candidate there.
Congress candidate Vijayshankar will need JD(S)' support to win in Mysore, as majority of legislators there are from the regional party, with two of them being Ministers.
According to sources, during the meeting with Siddarmaiah, Mandya Congress leaders expressed difficulty in supporting JD(S), their arch rival in the district.
Also citing Kumaraswamy himself not seeking theirsupport as one of the reasons for their staying away, they also voiced their strong opinion against certainstatements by the Chief Minister on a section of Mandya Congress leaders recently.
Several Mandya Congress leaders, including former MLAs N Cheluvarayaswamy, P M Narendraswamy and Ramesh Bandisidde Gowda have not been campaigning for Nikhil and had not even attended his nomination filing.
With no support from the Congress,Nikhil himself recently visited Siddaramaiah's residence and sought hissupport.
It is a high stake battle for Kumaraswamy in Mandya as his son is the candidate there and winning the polls will establish JD(S)' supremacy on the Vokkaliga bastion, where allthe eight MLAs are from the party.
Mandya will go to polls in the first phase on April 18.