Karnataka polls 2018: Cong to back only winnable candidates in ‘do-or-die’ elections

The party has formed a screening committee, headed by Madhusudhan Mistry, to vet the candidates before giving them tickets.
Karnataka polls 2018: Cong to back only winnable candidates in ‘do-or-die’ elections
Karnataka polls 2018: Cong to back only winnable candidates in ‘do-or-die’ elections
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With the Karnataka Assembly polls around the corner, the state Congress party has formed a screening committee, headed by former MP Madhusudan Mistry, to ensure that winnable candidates are given tickets.

While one faction of leaders in the party believe that it should field the children of politicians, another faction, headed by Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President Dr G Parameshwara has demanded for a ‘one family, one ticket’ policy to avoid an anti-incumbency wave.

“This is an election the Congress cannot afford to lose. If a politician’s son or daughter is a winnable candidate, then that’s who the party will pick. But there is also the concern of several senior leaders having criminal allegations against them. The screening committee is looking into these candidates,” a source told TNM.

Sources added that a separate selection committee has been formed to vet the applications. These will then be sent to the screening committee, which will then send the list it to the party high command where it will be finalised.  

“Parameshwara had tried to change the perception that tickets are given to children of politicians and that new candidates are not accepted. Besides, he is not happy about (Chief Minister) Siddaramaiah declaring that his son will contest from Varuna. Yes, Parameshwara is a veteran leader. However, this is a do-or-die situation. The party cannot lose and it appears that appeasement of some of the seniors is taking a back seat,” a party functionary said.

Sources also claim that a strict screening process was being put in place by the leaders.

“Mistry is being very thorough in the vetting of the over 3,000 ticket applications received. Only the candidates who have ground-level support, match the caste combination of the constituency and knows what to do to win in the said constituency will be given the ticket,” the source added.

Mistry, who is on a two-day visit to Bengaluru, held a meeting with the selection committee members and conducted informal interviews with applicants who wanted to present their cause.

“Obviously this election is not a time to experiment with fielding candidates who are not from a politically influential family. This is about the promise that a Congress revival will begin in Karnataka. Already the party has faced losses in many states. This is not the time for appeasing disgruntled leaders. Everyone has to go along with what the party decides,” the source added.

On Friday, after extensive discussions, the party’s campaign committee chalked out some ideas to counter the BJP’s Bengaluru Rakshisi campaign.

“From the first week of April to April 13, we will conduct an aggressive door-to-door campaign in every Assembly constituency. All office bearers who are ticket aspirants have been advised to tender voluntary resignations from their posts so that they can campaign effectively in the constituencies. We are going to step up ‘Mane Manege Congress’ and spread the news about what the government has done so far and also offer reasons why the BJP should never be voted to power,” Parameshwara said.

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