Mangaluru: As the Congress party celebrated the victory of its official candidate for Dakshina Kannada-Udupi constituency Pratapchandra Shetty in the MLC polls, Congress Working Committee member Oscar Fernandes, said that a decision on whether or not to accept the two rebel candidates in the district, who were ousted from the Congress party recently, will be taken in case they voluntarily submit an application seeking the same.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the celebrations held at the party office here on Wednesday afternoon, Fernandes said that former Congressmen Jayaprakash Hegde and Harikrishna Bantwal opposed the decision of the party high command to field Pratapchandra Shetty. Not alone that, they also decided to contest as rebels which prompted the party heads to oust them. However, Fernandes said that now, if they wish to rejoin, they can submit their applications seeking the same to the party, which will be considered.
Bantwal, a staunch follower of veteran Congress leader Janardhan Poojary was associated with the Congress for almost 43 years while Jayaprakash Hegde joined Congress about seven years ago.
Hegde and Bantwal had alleged that it was only because highly influential Oscar Fernandes wanted Pratapchandra in the fray, he had been given the ticket and that Pratapchandra Shetty had no interest to contest for the post. Asked about this, Fernandes categorically denied the allegations saying the decision was taken by the high command and that he has no say there. He said that a proposal to field Shetty was sent from the grassroots level which was okayed at the district level and then by the KPCC and the AICC respectively, as a result of which Shetty was chosen as the official MLC candidate.
Interestingly, later during a general gathering of the party members, a highly spirited Veerappa Moily ended up hailing Fernandes for his ‘brave decision’ to chose Pratapchandra Shetty and emerge victorious.