Congress meet Saturday on Karnataka poll candidates


New Delhi/Bangalore: Karnataka Congress leaders said Thursday they had briefed party president Sonia Gandhi on the probable candidates for the May 5 state assembly polls and another meet would be held Saturday to finalise the names.

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“The central election committee headed by Sonia Gandhi will meet March 30 on finalizing party candidates,” Karnataka Congress chief told reporters in New Delhi after meeting the party president.

He said Thursday’s meeting with Gandhi mainly considered the criteria to give Congress tickets.

The state party has received over 2,000 applications for the 224 assembly seats. The state assembly has 224 elected and one nominated member.

The state leaders assisted by party general secretary in-charge of Karnataka affairs have drawn up a list of probables for all the 224 seats with more than one name for most of them.

The list would be considered by the panel headed by Gandhi.

In Bangalore, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party Thursday continued its exercise of selecting candidates with indication that the names would be out only in the first week of April.

“We are not in any race with other parties to release the list. We will take our time and do so after due consideration of candidates,” state BJP president Pralhad Joshi told reporters.

The party has little option but to take time to finalise its candidates as several BJP ministers and law makers are planning to quit the party and join Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) headed by former BJP leader B.S. Yeddyurappa.

A clear picture of how many would desert BJP is expected to emerge only after March 30 by when Yeddyurappa expects all his supporters in his former party to join him.

He has already released names of candidates for 69 seats, which includes three ministers and over ten legislators who quit BJP and joined KJP.

Nominations open April 10 and close 17. Vote count is on May 8.