Factional fights in Cong keep Ramya on tenterhooks

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Bangalore: The simmering differences between the Housing Minister M H Ambarish and former external affairs minister S M Krishna factions in the Congress in Mandya have kept Ramya, the party candidate for the coming Lok Sabha election, on tenterhooks.

Members of these factions are refusing to see eye to eye, affecting the actor-turned-politician’s campaign in the constituency. Efforts by both Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and KPCC chief G Parameshwara to pacify the warring groups have been in vain.

The Ambarish faction is said to be demanding the removal of district Congress president Atmananda, a follower of Krishna. The chief minister and the KPCC chief recently held a meeting with the district Congress leaders for over three hours in Bangalore and tried to bring peace, but they refused to budge.
Parameshwara met the leaders of both the factions in Mandya on Wednesday, when Ramya filed her nomination papers. But the leaders refused to bury the hatchet, the Congress sources said.

So much so that a group of seven close followers of Ambarish, including Amaravathy Chandrashekar and Siddaraju, left for Malaysia on Wednesday evening to meet their leader and discuss the future course of action.

Ambarish is currently in Malaysia after spending several days in a Singapore hospital for the treatment of a lung infection. The ‘Rebel Star’ is unlikely to take part in the campaign due to health reasons, sources said.

Differences between the two factions intensified during the Assembly elections last year, when Ambarish forced the party to give ticket to his follower S L Lingaraju from the Srirangapatna Assembly constituency, replacing Ravindra Srikantaiah, a Krishna follower.

Ambarish had the upper hand in candidate selection in other constituencies, too. Subsequently, the Ambarish faction came up with a demand to remove Atmananda. But the party refused to do so.

Ramya, who got elected as MP in the byelection held in August 2013, is said to have taken a neutral stand and tried to take both factions along. But her efforts have not yielded the expected results. Instead, members of both the groups alleged that Ramya was not taking them into confidence, sources said.

In her recent election campaign, Ramya allegedly made a statement on the political growth of Ambarish, irritating his followers.

They, as a result, are keeping off the campaign. When the party recently organised a Bharat Nirman padayatra in Mandya, as part of the Lok Sabha election campaign, many of Ambarish supporters were away picnicking in Kodagu, the sources added.

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