In the run-up to the Assembly elections in Karnataka, due by April-May, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi embarked on a three-day visit to the state on Sunday, 19 March, attending a series of programmes starting, the party said.
The Congress leader is expected to participate in two programmes in Belagavi in North Karnataka and Kunigal in the Tumakuru district.
As per his itinerary, the leader will arrive at the Hubballi airport and go to Belagavi by road.
The Wayanad MP will meet with the Congress leaders and workers regarding the preparations made for the Yuvakranti Samavesha’ in Belagavi, which is scheduled on Monday afternoon and will leave for Bengaluru after that.
Rahul Gandhi will travel to Kunigal on Tuesday, where he will attend a “Praja Dhwani” event of the Karnataka Congress. After attending the event, he will return to Bengaluru.
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Candidate announcement soon?
On 13 March, senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah said that the first list of the party’s candidates for the Karnataka Assembly polls would be announced soon.
The screening committee for the Karnataka Assembly elections set up by the AICC sent the names of shortlisted candidates for about 170 seats.
All incumbent MLAs of the Congress in Karnataka are set to get tickets from the party and another 20 seats have a candidate each lined up for the election.
About 80 constituencies have more than one aspirant, and close to a dozen constituencies have more than four aspirants for tickets.
The party is also planning to reserve 20-30 seats for candidates who may join from other parties, like the BJP and the JD(S), closer to the election.
Siddaramaiah added that winnability was the “major criterion” for ticket distribution for the Assembly polls.
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‘Screening committee reviewed applications’
State Congress president DK Shivakumar recently said that the screening committee of the party had reviewed all the applications of the aspirants, and the opinion of the screening committee will be sent to the central election committee of the AICC for the final review.
The Congress has set a target of winning at least 150 seats in the 224-member Assembly to come to power in Karnataka after the upcoming polls with a clear majority.
While the JD(S) has already announced the first list of 93 candidates for the Assembly polls, the BJP and the Congress are yet to make public their lists.
With internal surveys of both the Congress and the BJP suggesting that ticket distribution might swing the election results, both parties are treading cautiously.