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Karnataka assembly polls: Trouble in Congress camp over denial of tickets

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In an angry backlash a day after the ruling Congress announced its candidates for the May 12 assembly polls, supporters of ticket seekers, who failed to make it to the list, staged protests across Karnataka on Monday, with the stir turning violent at several places.

The party woke up to an unexpected ugly eruption of discontent as the supporters of many ticket aspirants went berserk, damaging Congress offices, blocking national highway and staging demonstration outside the office of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee in Bengaluru.

Protests also broke out in Vijayapura, Tumakuru, Dharwad and Chikkamagaluru districts.

At Tiptur in Tumakuru district, a man allegedly attempted to immolate himself by pouring kerosene on his body to protest the denial of ticket to his leader K. Shadakshari, police said.

Before he could take the extreme step, fellow supporters and police intervened and saved him.

Supporters observed Tiptur Bandh and blocked the road, the police said.

At Chikkamagaluru, hundreds of supporters of Gayathri Shanthegowda, who had lost in 2013, stormed the Congress office and damaged the furniture for denying ticket to her, they said.

As her supporters went on a furniture breaking spree, she claimed Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had assured her a ticket.

Her supporters said she had lost the election by a very thin margin in 2013 and the party should have reposed faith in her.

Similar scenes were witnessed in the Congress office at Mandya where supporters of Ganiga Ravi Kumar destroyed the furniture at the PCC office protesting against ticket given to film actor-turned-politician Ambarish, a former minister.

Protest demonstrations were witnessed in Udupi, where supporters of Udayakumar Shetty alleged he had been denied ticket at the behest of former union minister Veerappa Moily.

At Nelamangala, hundreds of supporters of Anjanamurthy blocked the National Highway leading to Tumakuru to vent their anger for denial of ticket to their leader.

The party has given ticket to Cheluvarayaswamy, who was one among the six Janata Dal (Secular) leaders who switched loyalty to the Congress recently.

Siriguppa town in Tumakuru observed a shut-down as supporters of sitting MLA B.M. Nagaraj protested denial of ticket to their leader.

In Bengaluru, Manjula Naidu staged a demonstration outside the KPCC office over the party giving ticket to former mayor G. Padmavathi instead of her. Padmavathi has been pitched against BJP heavyweight and former minister S. Suresh Kumar.

Supporters of Jagalur Congress MLA H.P. Rajesh staged a demonstration as he was denied the ticket.

Amid differences over the candidates to be chosen, the Congress had on Sunday come out with a list of 218 names in one go while holding back clearance for six other segments.

Ahead of release of the candidates' list, Karnataka Pradesh Congress president G. Parameshwara had said in the event of dissidence, ticket aspirants will be pacified and persuaded.

As per the list, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will contest only from one constituency—Chamundeshwar. Earlier, there were speculations that he may be in the fray from Badami in Bagalkote district also as he faces a tough battle in Chamundeshwari.