Mr. Kudachi, who was denied ticket to contest from Belgaum North, quit the Congress and joined the Janata Dal(S) today. The Janata Dal(S) lost no moment to project him as its official candidate from Belgaum North. The Janata Dal(S) will shortly organise a party workers meeting to admit “hundreds of Congress workers loyal to Mr. Kudachi”.
The decision was announced at a crowded press conference addressed by the vice-president of the State Janata Dal(S) and former Minister, Umesh V. Katti, and district unit president Ashok Pujari. Along with Mr. Kudachi, Dalit youth leader Mallesh Chougale also joined the party.
Mr. Kudachi, who quit Maharashtra Ekikaran Samithi (MES) and contested as a Congress candidate in the 1999 Assembly elections, created history by winning against the MES from the erstwhile Belgaum City then. With his election was broken the electoral hegemony of the MES, the pro-Maharashtra outfit surviving on the single-point issue of “boundary dispute” (demanding transfer of Belgaum, Nippani, Khanapur, Bidar, Karwar and other boundary areas to Maharashtra for over five decades).
He was again elected in the 2004 elections. Earlier, he had served as Mayor of the Belgaum City Corporation when he was an active leader in the MES.
Asked about the reasons for his decision to quit the Congress, he said a section of the top leaders of the party ensured that he did not get ticket much against the party’s guidelines on allotment of ticket.
The party had decided to give ticket to all its members of the previous Assembly, while it could consider for alternative candidates in constituencies whose constitution, after delimitation, had been affected by more than 50 per cent. But the party leaders showed disregard to this guideline and refused him the ticket even when 85 per cent of the areas in the erstwhile Belgaum City constituency have remained “intact” in the new Belgaum North Assembly constituency.