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'Power centres' in Congress cast a shadow on candidate selection

P M Raghunandan, March 27, 2013, DHNS: 23:36 IST
Poll profit : A vendor in Bangalore does a brisk business selling buntings and other election paraphernalia of various political parties. DH Photo

Aspirants for Congress tickets to contest the upcoming Assembly elections in the State are waiting with bated breath for the party to finalise the candidates, even as the exercise to select them is getting into a muddle.

Ticket aspirants, especially those figuring in the panel of names recommended by the KPCC election committee for each constituency, are clueless whether or not to go ahead with the groundwork for campaigning in their respective constituencies, while contestants in many rival parties have already jumped into the fray wooing voters.

The AICC Screening Committee headed by former Goa chief minister Luizinho Faleiro is said to be finding it tough to select candidates amid intense lobbying for tickets. Hundreds of State Congress leaders have been camping in Delhi where the committee is holding the crucial meeting. The party is unlikely to release its full list on March 30 if the intensity of lobbying and struggle among the leaders are anything to go by, party insiders said.

Serious differences have cropped up between KPCC chief G Parameshwara and legislature party leader Siddaramaiah on giving tickets to their supporters. The leaders are said to be pushing their own followers for tickets so that they will have a majority support in the legislature party after the polls. They are doing this with an eye on the chief minister’s post, sources explained.

Besides, Parameshwara and Siddaramaiah are the only leaders from the State in the committee. Union Minister of State for Home Jitendra Singh and AICC Karnataka in-charge Madhusudan Mistry are the others in the five-member committee. As a result, ticket aspirants have been by and large divided into two groups – one supported by Parameshwara and the other by Siddaramaiah. Moreover, the committee is said to be depending on inputs being given by the State leaders to select candidates. And this is one reason for ticket aspirants to feel there could be biases in selection of candidates.

Time running out

Many aspirants this paper interacted with confided they were feeling jittery about losing time without campaigning. In several constituencies such as Rajajinagar in Bangalore, all those in the panel of recommended names are ‘outsiders.’ Those who finally get the ticket will have to start from the scratch as far as preparations for the polls are concerned.

The outsiders-natives issue is already showing signs of aggravating in the coming days. One of the ‘native’ leaders of the party said senior leaders were misleading the Screening Committee. Only those with money and muscle power are being given prominence and those who have dedicated their lives for the party are being neglected, the leader added.

Of the total 224 constituencies, the KPCC election committee has recommended single names for about 100 constituencies, including the sitting MLAs and senior leaders. For the remaining 124 constituencies, a panel of names has been recommended.

Whereas, parties such as the KJP and the JD(S) are streets ahead of others. While the B S Yeddyurappa-led KJP has already released the first list of candidates, the JD(S) led by H D Kumaraswamy has informally declared the candidates’ names for a majority of the constituencies and has asked them to start making preparations for the polls, sources said.

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