Nalapad effect: Congress leaders fear losing Shantinagar

BENGALURU: Though the Congress ticket for sitting MLA N A Haris to fight from Shantinagar is almost certain, a few leaders from his own party have expressed “unhappiness” over the party fielding him. A few Congress leaders, however, say that giving Haris a ticket to contest the polls will not affect their chances of winning the election. The opposition BJP and JD(S), however, say that the Congress will lose its base in Shantinagar if its fields Haris. On February, the MLA’s son — Mohammed Haris Nalapad — and his associates allegedly attacked a youth in pub in Bengaluru. The incident turned into a political slugfest with the BJP and JD(S) raising it in the Assembly.

Nalapad was even expelled from the KPCC where he was serving as the general secretary of Youth Congress. Nalapad is now lodged at Central Prison in Parappana Agrahara. Congress, that has announced the names of 218 candidates, is yet to name candidates for the remaining six constituencies, including Shantinagar. However, Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy has said that Haris will be given the ticket. Reddy said the pub attack case will not have a negative impact on the Congress. “Our government took action immediately. We were not partial. People have seen us … we will win in Shanthinagar again,” he said.

KPCC Working President Dinesh Gundurao too came out in defence of Haris. “In this case, it is Haris’ son who is involved and not Haris himself. Just because his son is involved in the case, Haris cannot be denied a ticket. Moreover, Nalapad is in judicial custody,” he said.

But there is some displeasure among certain Congress leaders. ” The assault happened recently and was covered widely in the media and circulated in social media. It will be in public memory. Sending someone to jail will not make much difference to the ruling government in this case. It will definitely help opponents who will use the issue in their campaign,” a Congress leader said.

Another Congress leader said that there was a trend in Shanthinagar assembly constituency where a candidate from the same party has not won for two consecutive times. However, Haris was an exception, the Congress leader said. “It was merely by luck … this time his the pub incident will not help him to win,” the leader added.

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