Karnataka Assembly polls: Cong high command, state unit differ on giving tickets

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Karnataka Assembly polls: Cong high command, state unit differ on giving tickets

New Delhi: The Congress high command and the party Karnataka leadership differ on giving party ticket to all sitting MLAs and new entrants in the coming Assembly elections.

Though State Congress President G Parameshwara said all the sitting MLAs and new entrants would get the ticket, the party top brass learnt to have favoured for dropping some of them and fielding new faces.

“Parameshwara must have told the media promising to give tickets to all sitting MLAs and new entrants to prevent them from joining a rival party. However the party has not taken any such decision,” sources in the party said.

As per the two rounds of a survey conducted by the party, chances of victory of 30 sitting MLAs are bleak. Besides some of the new entrants also facing formidable challenges from opponents as well as local Congress leaders, sources said.

For instances, among of the 7 Janata Dal (S) rebel MLAs, many may not win as they face tough challenge from former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, who has been working hard to defeat them. Though these MLAs have met Congress president Rahul Gandhi, he has not promised ticket to them”, a senior leader said.

The party state unit promised ticket to Ashok Kheny from Bidar South, Sateesh Sail (Karwar), Anand Singh ( Vijayapura), Nagendra (Kudligi) and Mankala Vaidya ( Bhatkal) while admitting them. We have to honour our promise, said a party leader from Karnataka.

Indeed, several state leaders also suggested the high command not to give ticket to new entrants as many may not win. Besides, local Congress leaders of their respective constituencies were also opposing giving ticket to them, said the leader.

The party is also worrying that denial of ticket to sitting MLAs or newly joined leaders may harm the prospect of the party candidates. Since sitting MLAs also have followers in their segments, they may join hand with Opposition party candidates to work in defeating the official candidate. Taking all these issues, party is also thinking to announce official candidates for some constituencies at last moments, said the leader.

Though Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has been telling that winnability would be criteria for distributing the party ticket, Congress president Rahul Gandhi prefer to field many young faces with clean image. Even in Rajya Sabha polls, the party top junked the candidates suggested by state leadership especially leaders with real estate background, instead they picked loyal and young faces. The party will also follow the same method in selecting the Assembly candidates, said the leader.

So far the party candidate selection screening committee headed by Madhusudhan Mistry discussed only probable candidates in segments where party lost in last Assembly seats. Another round of screening committee meeting will be held in Bengaluru on March 26 and in which deliberation will be held sitting MLAs and new entrants. The final round of meeting will be held from March 28 to March 29 in Delhi.

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