How a Dramatic Youth Election Brought Out Rift in Kar Congress
One of the candidates Mohammed Nalapad was disqualified despite winning the highest number of votes.
The election for the presidentship of the Karnataka unit of the Indian Youth Congress sparked controversy after one of the candidates Mohammed Nalapad was disqualified despite winning the highest number of votes.
The election is also being seen as the symptom of factional differences within the Karnataka Congress.
In the final results, Nalapad secured 64,203 votes as opposed to 57,271 votes polled by his nearest rival Raksha Ramaiah but in the end it was Ramaiah who was declared the winner and not Nalapad.
Ramaiah is the son of former Congress MLC MR Seetharam while Nalapad is the son of party leader and Shanthinagar MLA NA Haris.
Mohammed Nalapad had earlier been accused of involvement in a drunken brawl in 2018. Citing this incident, several leaders in the Karnataka Congress had been opposing his candidature. It is also known that Nalapad's rival Raksha Ramaiah had the support of several factions of the Karnataka Congress, the most prominent being the one led by former chief minister Siddaramaiah.
On the other hand, Nalapad found some support from the Karnataka Pradesh Congress president DK Shivakumar, who said that his nomination doesn't violate any rule and is part of the democratic process.
Comeback After Controversy
Over the last one year, Nalapad, who is also president of the Bengaluru Youth Congress, had been working hard towards an image makeover to revive his political career.
He even hired a firm DesignBoxed, which also handled the Congress campaign in 2018 Chhattisgarh Assembly elections, one of the biggest electoral victories for the party in the past few years.
With the firm's help, Nalapad organised a number of events such as the Let's Take Charge campaign in November, inviting policy suggestions for Karnataka and Bengaluru. The campaign was a major success and got 30,000 suggestions just on improving infrastructure in Bengaluru.
This boosted Nalapad's chances in the Karnataka Youth Congress elections in January 2021. But his rivals first called for his disqualification but when he was allowed to run, they filed a complaint, causing the results to be withheld for three weeks.
The matter even reached the Congress' central leadership with Shivakumar meeting former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Joint Secretary in-charge for IYC Krishna Allavaru.
The counting began again on 3 February and Nalapad secured the highest number of votes. But he was finally disqualified on 4 February by former Chief Election Commissioner JM Lyngdoh's NGO FAME that manages elections for the Youth Congress.
"I thank my supporters for voting for me and giving me the highest number of votes in Karnataka. However, I am a loyal Congress worker and I accept whatever decision the party has taken," Nalapad said in a video statement.
While this chapter might be over, the factional rivalries in the Karnataka Congress aren't likely to end anytime soon.
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