The ruling Congress party in Karnataka on Sunday evening released its first list of 218 candidates for the upcoming state elections for 224 seats. The announcement that Siddaramaiah will contest from Chamundeshwari in Mysuru, ended speculation that he might be in the fray from a second constituency, Badami, in north Karnataka's Bagalkote district. Once busy in Congress party activities, he is now spending more time on movie shoots and it is his brother Pawan Kalyan, who founded and heads the Jana Sena Party, who is engaged in full-time politics. Congress party leaders concede that winning Karnataka Assembly polls would strengthen Rahul's bid to replace Modi at the Centre as he would be able to muster the non-BJP parties under a common umbrella so as to forge a "Rainbow alliance" (similar to the 2004 scenario) ahead of next year's general polls. Law minister T B Jayachandra's son Santosh Jayachandra was given a ticket from the Chikanayakanhalli Assembly seat (Tumkur).
Out of the total candidates, 52 are OBCs, 48 and 39 from the Lingayat and the Vokalliga communities respectively, 36 from the Schedule Castes (SC) and 17 from Schedule Tribes (STs), party source said. He however offered his fullest cooperation to any candidate the party selected. Congress is keen to improve its tally in these seats. Youths were given preference.
Meanwhile, BJP is also on an outreach mission to woo the dalits.
The present and former lawmakers of Congress - those holding offices in the zilla parishad, civic bodies, and the panchayat samitis - will take part in the launch event that is aimed at sensitising the attendees on the current state of affairs with regard to the community.
The elections for the Karnataka are scheduled to take place on May 12 and the counting of votes will take place on May 15.
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