Karnataka polls: Cong in bind over selection of 47 candidates

Opposition Congress is facing difficulty in finalising 47 candidates for the Karnataka Assembly elections in the backdrop of intense lobbying by senior party leaders in the high-stake polls.

The principal opposition in Karnataka, which sees prospects of dislodging the BJP government by putting up a united front, announced a list of 177 candidates last Friday.
The party, however, is finding it extremely hard to zero in on nominees in the remaining 47 segments.

In addition to tug-of-war over other seats, the issue of allotting tickets to sons of Labour Minister M Mallikarjuna Kharge, former CM N Dharam Singh and daughter of MSME Minister K H Muniyappa has added to the party's woes. The decision has now been left to party president Sonia Gandhi.

As Karnataka is the first major state to go to polls after Rahul Gandhi became the Congress Vice-President, the party seems to take extra care to see that there are no wrong choices as far as selection of candidates is concerned.

Nevertheless, there have been rumblings after the first list, with those who lost out crying foul.

Of the total 224 Assembly constituencies, the ruling BJP has so far announced candidates for 175 segments.

The party, which faced corruption charges during its five-year tenure and dissidence within the outfit, is yet to take a call on giving ticket to tainted MLAs – Katta Subramanya Naidu, Y Sampangi and S N Krishnaiah Setty.

The party has reportedly told the trio that giving tickets to them is out of the question, and suggested them to recommend their nominees for their respective seats.

Setty, who initially announced intention to retire from politics after reports that he is out of contention, has since changed tune and threatened to contest as an independent if the BJP denied him ticket.

According to sources, the BJP has chosen to attack the Congress for "mis-governance, scams and scandals" at the Centre during the campaigning and not be too critical of former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, who broke away from the BJP last year and floated Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP).

After all, Yeddyurappa was the "face" of BJP for long and had played a key part in bringing the party to power in the 2008 Assembly elections. BJP has already appealed to the people to "forgive" the party for "minor confusions" during Yeddyurappa's tenure.

BJP has argued that its achievements on the development front have been overshadowed by dissidence and corruption charges but expressed confidence the people would give another opportunity to the party which, it said, has become "clean" with exit of Yeddyurappa and company.

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