Karnataka’s ruling Congress on Monday set up a special cell to quell the revolt brewing in the party from a dozen sitting legislators and scores of aspirants whose names did not figure in the 218 candidates declared to contest the May 12 assembly elections.
“We have set up cell headed by state unit President G. Parameshwara to pacify the members and aspirants who could not be selected to contest in the assembly poll for multiple reasons,” party’s state Vice President K.E. Radhakrishna told IANS here.
Admitting that the party was facing rebellion in at least six constituencies from sitting legislators and ticket aspirants, he said the cell would soon meet them and explain why they could not be selected to contest this time.
“Once we finalise names for the remaining 5-6 constituencies in the next 2-3 days, we will call all those who could not make it to the list as there have been many aspirants for every assembly segment,” Radhakrishna said.
According to reports from districts, hundreds of party’s workers staged angry protests at the party offices for denying ticket to their respective leaders at Chikkamagluru, Badami, Bagalkot, Ballari, Mandya, Kolar and Chikkaballapur.
The disappointed party cadres also vowed to campaign against the selected candidates if their leaders were ignored and denied opportunity to contest in the polls.
Polling will be held in a single phase for the 224 assembly segments across the state on May 12 and votes will be counted on May 15.
“Of the 122 sitting legislators, 12 could not be re-nominated for health reasons, old age and due to prospects of winning being not so bright as per our surveys,” said Radhakrishna.
The party has decided not to field its candidate in the Melukote in Mandya district in support of Swaraj India candidate Darshan Puttannaiah, son of the state’s farmer leader, late K.S. Puttananaiah, who was a member of the outgoing state assembly, representing the Karnataka Sarvodaya Paksha, which merged with Swaraj India in March 2017.
“The selection has been made solely on the winning criteria after carefully considering other social factors, including their caste and community for fair representation of all sections of society,” said Radhakrishna.
The party has fielded 42 Lingayats, 39 Vokkaligas, 52 Other Backward Classes, 35 Scheduled Castes, 17 Scheduled Tribes for the reserved constituencies, 15 Muslims, 7 Brahmins, 6 Reddy Lingayts and two each from Jain and Christian communities.
Among the selected candidates, 24 are in the age group of 25-40, 49 between 41-50 years, 72 in the 51-60 years, 66 in the 61-70 years and 7 in the above 70 age group.
Besides Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s son Yatheendra to contest from Varuna in Mysuru district, the party has given ticket to Law Minister T. B. Jayachandra’s son Santosh in Chikkanayakanahalli and Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy’s daughter Sowmya from Jayanagar in south Bengaluru.