Despite Modi factor at work, Cong stays focused on corruption in K taka

By Saiyed Moziz Imam Zaidi New Delhi, March 19 : The Congress has begun finalising tickets for the Karnataka elections as hectic lobbying has started in Delhi to get the desired seats but the party is micromanaging each assembly segment directly. About 100 seats were finalised on Friday and sources said that some of the sitting MLAs may be denied ticket. Karnataka Congress President D.K. Shivakumar categorically denied any alliance with any party and said that they will go solo in the election. The party has drafted senior leaders from other states for each Lok Sabha segment and a feedback is sought from them. Congress General Secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala continues to camp in the state to oversee the preparations in view of the Assembly elections. The party is targeting the BJP for '40 per cent commission' charge and also taking up issues which are not concerned to state and is trying to scuttle the "divisive agenda" of the BJP, especially in coastal areas. There are allegations against the BJP government in Karnataka that officials and MLAs demand 40 per cebt commission or bribe from contractors for every project. Attacking the BJP on the issue of border dispute, Surjewala said that it wants to create Maharashtra-Karnataka border dispute like some states in Northeast, however both the governments are now run by the BJP. "A lame duck Karnataka CM (Basavaraj) Bommai remains elusive to ignorant. BJP govt of Maharashtra extends its schemes to 865 villages of Karnataka in brazen encroachment of territory. Home Minister Amit Shah remains oblivious. Sacrificing Karnataka's interests is shameful and sacrilegious," he says. The Congress is planning a mega rally on March 20 in Karnataka, which will be attended by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi who will be visiting the state for the first time after the Bharat Jodo Yatra. The mega rally is being organised at Belagavi. After the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the Congress is putting up the show by Gandhi to galvanise the party workers. The party is contemplating to announce a major poll promise. Surjewala said, "Rahul Gandhi will unveil a new path to transform lives of our youths. It's time to get rid of the job scams-ridden BJP government and usher in a new era." The party has already promised Rs 2,000 cash assistance for all women heads of the family in the state under the Gruhalakshmi scheme. Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had made the announcement for the scheme during her rally in Bengaluru in January. The party has also assured free electricity supply of up to 200 units to every household under the Gruha Jyothi scheme. As the party is finalising candidates, it is likely to deny tickets to some sitting MLAs who are facing anti-incumbency. Senior leaders from the state K.H. Muniyappa, H.K. Patil, Dinesh Gundu Rao and L. Hanumanthaiah met Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge last week and apprised him about the current political situation in the state. The party has 68 sitting MLAs in the state and state screening committee has already prepared a list comprising names for most of the constituencies. The committee has recommended single names for more than 100 constituencies and two or three names for other constituencies. State leaders have urged the party should also give proper representation to sub-castes of SC/ST and Other Backward Class. The Congress had received more than 1,300 applications for 224 assembly segments. Shivakumar said: "The people of the state have made their mind for change as they are fed up with corruption of the BJP government." /IANS


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