Cong announces names for 218 Assembly seats

K'taka polls: Cong releases first list of candidates, Siddaramaiah to contest from Chamundeshwari

After six days of talks, the Congress on Sunday announced candidates for 218 Assembly segments for the May 12 state polls, with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and PCC president G Parameshwara contesting from Chamundeshwari and Koratagere respectively.

The Congress list also put to rest speculation over Siddaramaiah and Parameshwara contesting the elections from two seats each.

The Congress has kept candidates on five seats pending and declared support for Darshan Puttanaiah, the son of farmer’s leader late K S Puttanaiah, who will be in the fray from Melukote Assembly seat. Puttanaiah is a leader of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha.

Bengaluru Mayor R Sampathraj has been fielded from C V Raman Nagar seat, while ex-mayors G Padmavathi and R Narayanaswamy will be in the fray from Rajaji Nagar and Nelamangala seats. The party has fielded 42 Lingayats, 39 Vokkaligas,52 OBCs, 36 SC, 17 ST,15 Muslim, 7 Brahmins, 6 Reddy Lingayat and two each from Jain and Christian communities.   

With Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s insistence on giving more representation to women and youth, the party has fielded 15 women candidates – against 10 in 2013 – while those with Youth Congress and NSUI background have also been selected.

Of the total candidates declared, 24 are in the age group of 25-40, 49 are between 41-50 years and 72 are in the 51-60 age group, 66 candidates in the 61-70 age group and 7 candidates are aged over 70.

Following bitter fight among some of the senior state leaders on giving tickets to their followers, Congress President Rahul Gandhi headed Central Election Committee cleared the names by making winnability as the sole criteria as the party makes a determined bid to retain power in the state.

The party has decided to drop 12 sitting MLAs.

Of the five seats pending, three were Congress MLAs and it is yet to known whether the party will renominate them or field new faces.

The party was supposed to have released the list of candidates on Friday itself but had to defer it following differences among senior leaders. The controversial businessman turned politician Ashok Kheny also got the seat from Bidar (South) despite opposition from many leaders of that region.

Among tainted candidates, former minister H Y Meti from Bagalkot, who landed in a row after sex CD got the ticket. The candidate for Shantinagar, whose sitting MLA N A Haris son was involved in a brawl, was kept pending.

Many Congress leaders sought tickets for their children, a few including Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s son Yatindra (Varuna), Law Minister T B Jayachandra’s son Santosh (Chikkanayakanahhli), Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy’s daughter Sowmya R ( Jayanagar) got party tickets.

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