Rift in Karnataka Cong Resurfaces as Shivakumar Drops 8-time MLA Deshpande from ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ Panel


The Karnataka Congress has dropped veteran leader RV Deshpande from the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ committee, after he allegedly disagreed with unit chief DK Shivakumar’s demand to mobilise 5,000 people from his constituency for the Rahul Gandhi-led walkathon. Eight-time MLA from Haliyal, Deshpande on Monday, however, claimed that the news was “false” and that all party leaders were united in an effort to make the yatra a success.

The ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ will arrive in the state in the last week of September and preparations are in full swing. Shivakumar said he took the decision after Deshpande refused to bring workers for the yatra citing it would be a long distance for him.

On September 17, the state unit released a list of organisers for 18 committees of the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, from which Deshpande’s name was missing while all other senior leaders figured in it. “All leaders have been given a personal letter about their duties. All will be watched and it is for all leaders. Deshpande said I can’t bring people for the yatra since it’s far for him. I said nothing can be done if, once in five years, you can’t bring people for the Rahul Gandhi programme. No MLA can be given exemption,” said Shivakumar.

Also a former minister, Deshpande reacted to the unit chief’s remark calling it “false news” and said he was interested in other areas and, thus, will be working on those. When it comes to the preparation of ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, all Congress leaders were united, he added.

“It is false news. I am interested in other areas and, thus, I will be working on them. Congress leaders are working in unity for ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’,” said Deshpande.

But infighting within the state Congress has resurfaced ahead of the yatra. Last week, Shivakumar’s remark about only giving tickets to “hard-working leaders” for the next assembly elections sparked a quarrel among party leaders.

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