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A dilemma for AIPJD in Kodagu

By Our Staff Correspondent

MADIKERI, FEB. 19. The All-India Progressive Janata Dal (AIPJD) Kodagu unit is in a state of confusion. The death of senior party leaders, particularly the former Chief Minister, Ramakrishna Hegde, has dealt a blow to the unit. M.C. Nanaiah, Vice-President of the party, is undecided on whether to remain in it, join another party, or ally with other groupings. The party workers in the district are also in a similar dilemma.

The Janata Dal group, led by Mr. M.C. Nanaiah, had remained neutral without joining the Janata Dal (S) or the Janata Dal (U) before merging with the party headed by S.R. Bommai.

At a recent meeting here, some party workers showed willingness to join the Janata Dal (S), while others said they were prepared to wait till another meeting of the party is held within 15 days. The meeting resolved to wait for the formal dissolution of the Legislative Assembly scheduled for February 23.

A setback to the party was the move by some senior leaders, who joined the Congress on Wednesday. However, most workers in the district may remain loyal to Mr. Nanaiah as they fear being sidelined in other parties.

Mr. Nanaiah has termed the Congress secular compared to the Bharatiya Janata Party and others. But he has made it clear that he will not join the Congress. He will only support that party. It is uncertain how many of his supporters will accept this view. It is said that Congress sent feelers to Mr. Nanaiah and an offer was made to nominate him to the Rajya Sabha. The party also reportedly offered to support his candidature from the Madikeri Assembly segment. This will dash the hopes of the Minister of State for Excise, M.M. Nanaiah, and B.T. Pradeep, a former vice-president of the Karnataka Pradesh Youth Congress Committee, who is aspiring for a party ticket for contesting in the constituency. The Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, is said to have an open mind on this offer.

T.P. Ramesh, General Secretary of the State unit of the AIPJD, says that the party will retain its identity in Kodagu and Mr. M.C. Nanaiah will continue to lead it. The party can think of fielding candidates from all three Assembly segments in the district. The party workers in the district may not accept the view of the senior leader, B. Somashekar, that the AIPJD should align with the Janata Party, or Mr. Bommai's idea of merger with the latter.

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