Deserters, cross-voters, tainted not to get Congress tickets

The Congress high command has decided to deny tickets to tho­se who quit the party during the BJP’s ‘Operation Lotus’, MLAs who cross-voted and those facing criminal char­g­es, even as it has given the green signal to 94 candidates, inclu­ding seven wom­e­n, to contest the forthcoming Karnataka Assembly elections.

The central election committee (CEC) of the party cleared all the single-name-bearing candidatures. The rest of the tickets will be cleared at the March 30 meeting of the CEC headed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

The AICC screening committee, it is understood, has not cleared the ticket for former Union minister C M Ibrahim although the reason for it is not known. The meeting kept the name pending at the instance of some members, it is said. A few days ago, Ibrahim was made the party strategy committee chairman for the polls, but interestingly so far, no other member for the panel has been named. The CEC is understood to have cleared the names of Ambareesh for Mandya, Kagodu Thimmappa for Sagar and B K Shivaram for Malleswaram. It is likely to leave the choice of candidate for Maddur to party veteran S M Krishna and Ambareesh.

AICC general secretary Madhusudan Mistry told Deccan Herald: “Some single names were cleared at the CEC meeting. All the names will hopefully be announced on Saturday after the CEC meeting.”

Mistry added that the committee fixed some basic criteria for giving tickets to candidates. He categorically said that party tickets will not be given to any of those leaders who deserted Congress during Operation Lotus. Thus, MLAs such as Yogeeshwara, Anand Asnotikar and others will not be admitted to Congress. However, some of the independent candidates are likely to be given ticket as they were earlier in the Congress and after deserting the organisation did not join any other party. “They will be considered,” he said. There are four independents who have shown interest in joining the party.

Asked whether the party was giving tickets to those facing serious criminal charges, Mistry said, “By and large, we have avoided.” Indicating that some of the candidates being considered for party tickets do have criminal cases against them but not convicted by any court, he said, “We are not considering their case casually. We are going deep into their cases and getting all the details, so that we do not clear their names while being in the dark.”

The AICC leader noted: “We decided that those who lost in the elections with over 20,000 votes should not be given tickets. We, however, made exceptions for some of the candidates.” The CEC has not taken any decision on giving tickets to the offsprings of some of the Congress leaders, including Union Minister Mallikarjun Kharge. “We are yet to take any decision on it,” he added.

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