Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah on Tuesday said his party is thinking about releasing the first list of candidates for the Assembly polls in Karnataka, this month.
The Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly expressed confidence about Congress winning the polls, which is expected by April-May, on its own strength and forming a government in Karnataka.
”We are thinking about releasing it (first list) within this month,” Siddaramaiah told reporters in response to a question.
Replying to a query about the party receiving 1,350 applications seeking tickets, he said, ”As Congress has more strength, as there is a wave in favour of the party, many people have applied for the candidacy.” As the party plans to finalise the first list of candidates there seems to be a competition among aspirants backed by Siddaramaiah and State Congress president D K Shivakumar.
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Both Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar are nursing Chief Ministerial ambitions in the event of the party coming to power in the State. According to party sources, aspirants from both camps have applied for tickets in about 80 constituencies of which the competition is said to be intense in about 30-35 segments.
Congress is said to have decided that winnability will be the main criteria for ticket distribution and is likely to bank on internal surveys to decide the candidates, they further said adding that most of the 69 sitting MLAs are likely to be retained.
While, JD(S) has already announced a first list of 93 candidates, the ruling BJP is yet to decide.
Responding to a question on former Minister and mining baron G Janardhana Reddy’s new party announcement, Siddaramaiah said, anyone can float a new regional party in a democracy, ultimately it is the people who decide whether to accept it and its candidates.
Asked about whether Reddy’s new party ‘Kalyana Rajya Pragati Paksha’ will benefit the Congress as there is a sense that it will split BJP’s votes, the former Chief Minister said, ”we (Congress) are not dependent on another party. We will win on our own strength. Let some one form a new party or BJP and JD(S) say anything, hundred per cent we will certainly win.” Pointing out that many leaders including former Chief Ministers – Devaraja Urs, S Bangarappa, B S Yediyurappa, also now Minister Sriramulu had tried to build a regional party in Karnataka and what happened to them is now part of history, he said, ”I’m not belittling them, but ultimately people decide in democracy.” With an aim to win the election and come back to power in Karnataka, the grand old party has set a target of winning at least 150 out of total 224 seats in the Assembly.