Congress likely to release list of 200 candidates today

Congress likely to release list of 200 candidates today

Party to defer decision on 24 contentious seats

Despite intensified protests by the disappointed ticket aspirants, the Congress is expected to release on Friday the first list of about 200 candidates, which would include most of the sitting MLAs and four independent MLAs, for the May 5 Assembly elections.

The party has, however, decided to defer announcement of the candidates for the remaining 24 contentious constituencies, including those where the kin of union ministers and senior leaders are the ticket aspirants.

They include Priyank Kharge (Chittapur), son of Union Minister for Labour and Employment Mallikarjun Kharge; Mansoor Ali Khan (Jayanagar), son of Union Minister for Minorities K Rahman Khan; Roopakala Shashidhar (KGF), daughter of Union Minister of State for Medium and Small Industries K H Muniyappa; and Rahman Sharief (Hebbal), grandson of former union minister C K Jaffer Sharief (Hebbal).

While the four independent MLAs (D Sudhakar, Venkataramanappa, Shivaraj Tangadagi and P M Narendraswamy) to get the tickets, two former ministers in the Jagadish Shettar C P Yogeeshwara  (Channapatna) and Raju Gouda (Shorapur) appears to have run out of luck.

The Congress has decided not to give them tickets as they were part of “Operation Lotus” conducted by the ruling BJP. But, the party is learnt to have decided not to attach much importance to the issue of cross-voting by certain Congress MLAs during the Legislative Council polls in 2012, while distributing the tickets.

While Yogeeshwara is likely to contest as an independent, Raju Gouda may join the JD(S) and contest as its candidate. Besides, C S Putte Gowda, who resigned as the JD(S) MLA from Shravanabelegola, will be given the ticket. However, Kalpana Siddaraju, who also resigned as the JD(S) MLA from Maddur to join the Congress, is unlikely to be the party’s candidate, party sources said.

The party may re-nominate all the sitting MLAs, except two – Amaresh from Mulbgal who is facing on criminal charges and B K Sangameshwar from Bhadravathi as former union minister C M Ibrahim wants to contest from there. The Congress would be issuing tickets to senior leaders, including cine star and former union minister Ambareesh from Mandya, and all those who were defeated in the last elections by slender margin, sources added.

Women and youth

Despite the party president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi’s assurance that adequate representation will be given to women and youth, the party is likely to field only about 10 women this time – the party had given tickets to 11 women in 2008 polls. Tejaswini Gowda (Bangalore south), Shakuntala Shetty (Puttur), Manjula Naidu (Rajajinagar) and Umashree (Terdal) are among women leaders who are likely to get the tickets.

Four leaders from Youth Congress are likely to make to the list. Leaders belonging to Muslim community had demanded that those from the community should be fielded from 29 constituencies, but the party is likely to field Muslims in about 20 seats, sources said.

The party high command is planning to finalise the names for the contentious constituencies at the later stage, after April 15. The last date for filing nomination papers is April 17. The plan is to avoid controversies and confusion on the ticket distribution in these places, sources pointed out.

One of the senior leaders who was associated with the selection process said the party hoped that  about 70 per cent of the candidates in the list would emerge victorious. The party is confident of bagging close to 20 seats of the 28 in Bangalore alone.

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