Karnataka Polls: Internal Differences Delay Congress' First List Of Candidates

Karnataka Polls: Internal Differences Delay Congress' First List Of Candidates

NEW DELHI:  The first list of Congress candidates for the May 12 assembly elections in Karnataka was delayed after differences cropped up among members of the party's Central Election Committee (CEC) that met on Friday.

At the CEC meeting, which met twice under the chairmanship of Rahul Gandhi, members deliberated on the selection of candidates for hours, but could not arrive at a consensus and decided to meet again today.

"We will meet again tomorrow," Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had told reporters yesterday after the meeting.

Congress leader and member of the CEC Ambika Soni said the list is not finalised yet and further discussions will take place today.

She said the final call will be taken by Karnataka leaders at the meeting again.

Sources said the differences were apparent as each of the senior party leaders from the state were carrying their own separate lists of candidates for approval.

Some leaders raised objections over the grant of party tickets to recently joined BJP and JD(S) rebel legislators, besides some Independents, the sources said.

A section of Karnataka party leaders feel that the tickets should be given to the winning candidates and expressed apprehensions over the loyalty of those joining the Congress ahead of elections, they said.

The deliberations were also centered around the grant of party tickets to family members of Chief Minister Siddharamaiah and state unit chief G Parameswara and some senior ministers.

The sources also said that the KPCC chief has sought two tickets -- one from the Koratagere constituency in Tumkur district, the seat that he had lost in 2013, and the other is the Pulakeshinagar constituency in Bengaluru, from where JD(S) MLA joined the Congress recently.

Even Chief Minister Siddaramaiah wants to contest from two seats and is demanding tickets, one from his old Chamundeshwari constituency in Mysore district and the other Badami in Bagalkote district, where sitting Congress MLA BB Chimmanakatti was persuaded to vacate the seat, they said.