Karnataka Youth Congress chief-elect opposes ‘dual power centres’ plan

Raksha Ramaiah has sought recounting of votes at block level; FAME authorities to visit State in a few days

Raksha Ramaiah, who has been declared president of the Karnataka Youth Congress in a “controversial” election conducted by the Foundation for Advanced Management of Elections (FAME), an NGO, has opposed any plan to appoint Mohammed Haris Nalapad as working president and said two power centres will not benefit the party.

Mr. Ramaiah, son of the former Minister M.R. Seetharam of Ramaiah Group of Institutions, said he was ready to give up the post in case the party made two power centres by appointing another leader as the working president.

Since the declaration of Mr. Ramaiah as president — by disqualifying Mr. Nalapad after he contested the election — has not gone down well with a section of Congress leaders, it is believed that Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president D.K. Shivakumar mooted the proposal to appoint Mr. Nalapad as working president.

Mr. Nalapad, had secured more votes than Mr. Ramaiah in an online poll conducted by FAME, headed by the former Chief Election Commissioner J.M. Lyngdoh. He was, however, disqualified since a case is pending against him in the court.

Reversal in recounting

Mr. Ramaiah said that more than 120 of his supporter-candidates at the block level, who were declared as winners after the counting of votes on January 31, were declared “defeated” in the recounting of votes on February 4.

Mr. Ramaiah, an alumni of St. Joseph’s College of Commerce, Bengaluru, and Cardiff University, U.K., said his supporters won in 270 blocks out of total 470 in the State. But in the recounting of votes on February 4, only 150 candidates were declared as winners. He claimed that while 27,000 votes were declared invalid on January 31, the number increased to 47,000 votes in the recounting on February 4.

“Why were 20,000 more votes declared invalid on February 4? Why are winners declared as losers in the recounting of votes? We want justice,” the youth Congress president said.

Dissatisfied with the outcome of the election conducted by Rajpal Bista and Ramji Rao of FAME, Mr. Ramaiah had rushed to Delhi to press for recounting of votes again.

He said FAME officials would visit Bengaluru on February 15 or 16 for recounting of votes. Mr. Rao had acted as the returning officer for the election.

About the swearing-in ceremony, he said it would be held next month in one of three central Karnataka districts of Chitradurga, Davangere or Ballari. “Generally, the ceremony is conducted in Bengaluru, but this time it will be away from the State capital to allow youth members from other districts to jell better with the party,” he said.

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