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Win First Priority, Chief Ministership Issue Later: Karnataka PCC Chief

With the Congress facing trouble over ticket distribution, G Parameshwara on Wednesday asserted that it would not have any bearing on its poll prospects, holding that the candidates were selected "systematically" considering ground realities.

PTI

Updated:April 18, 2018, 6:01 PM IST
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Win First Priority, Chief Ministership Issue Later: Karnataka PCC Chief
File photo of Karnataka Congress president G Parameshwara.
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Bengaluru: As the ruling Congress goes for the May 12 Karnataka Assembly elections without having named a chief ministerial nominee, its state unit president G Parameshwara on Wednesday said the party's first priority is to ensure a majority in the House and the issue of chief ministership will be dealt with later.

With the Congress facing trouble over ticket distribution, he asserted that it would not have any bearing on its poll prospects, holding that the candidates were selected "systematically" considering ground realities.

On the possibility of he becoming the chief minister, Parameshwara said the matter concerning chief ministership will be decided later.

On the poll prospects of the chief minister from Chamudeshwari constituency in Mysuru where the fight is expected to be a tough one, he said Siddaramaiah will win, "The first priority before all of us, including me and Siddaramaiah, is to win 113 seats (out of the 224 in the Assembly) to form the government. Later, the issue of chief minister will be dealt with. I can assure you, Siddaramaiah will win Chamudeshwari hands down," the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee chief told PTI.

Before the Assembly polls in 2013, Parameshwara was expected to be a contender for the chief minister's post but lost the election.

The Congress has been projecting Siddaramaiah as its face in the campaign but has not named him as the chief ministerial candidate.

On discontent over ticket allocation which manifested in ugly protests marked by violence in some places, he said the Congress would win despite unease among some supporters of party leaders who did not get tickets this time.

"Protests staged by some supporters of disgruntled leaders who did not get tickets, will not have any bearing on the party's electoral prospects. We are going to win despite this," he said.

The tickets have been distributed systematically considering ground realities poll prospects of the candidates, Parameshwara said.

On the suggestion mooted by some party leaders about Siddaramaiah contesting from Chamudeshwari and Badami seats, he said the chief minister did not aspire to contest from two constituencies. Siddaramaiah decided against it because it could create an impression of lack of confidence on the issue of victory, he said.

"Siddaramaiah, however, said he would contest only from Chamudeshwari because he had earlier won from there. (State Congress working president) S R Patil and other leaders had advised him to contest from Badami because of the presence of a large number of Kurubas there," he said. The chief minister hails from the Kuruba community.

Replying to a query, Parameshwara said giving tickets to Anand Singh and Nagendra, against whom there are charges of illegal mining, had not dented the party's image of fighting corruption.

While Singh was earlier in the BJP, Nagendra was an independent MLA.

"The law and the voice of the people are two different things. The people in their constituencies want Nagendra and Anand Singh to see them as leaders, having political power. This is the criteria on which we have given them tickets," he said.

"If the law takes its own course against them, we do not have any objections. Let them face the music," he said.

However, there was a difference between B S Yeddyurappa and Nagendra-Singh duo, he said on the Congress' attacking the former being named the BJP's chief ministerial candidate.

Yeddyurappa was the first chief minister in the country to have been jailed, and at present, he is the state party chief, "which makes the matter all the more serious," he said.

Parameshwara said the exit of senior Congress leaders hailing from Old Mysuru region, including S M Krishna and Srinivasa Prasad, would not have any impact on the prospects of the party as "they are not mass leaders."

"I don't think Krishnaji and others can bring damage to our electoral prospects anywhere in the state," he said.

The KPCC chief said delay in announcing candidate for Shantinagar constituency in Bengaluru was a political strategy, but the name of sitting member M A Haris was being considered by the screening and central election committees.

The candidate would be declared in a day or two.

Haris was dragged into a controversy involving his son Mohammed Nalapad, who is in judicial custody in a case of alleged brutal assault of a man at a high-end bar-cum-restaurant recently. Nalapad was suspended as a party functionary for six years as the incident created a storm in political circles.

Parameshwara said Congress President Rahul Gandhi will be campaigning in Karnataka in three more phases.

"He will visit Karnataka on April 26 and 27. Then again on May 3 and 4 and from May 8 to 10. He will visit Gadag, Haveri, Uttara Kannada and Madikeri districts which he could not do in four legs of his visits earlier," he said.

Asked if Sonia Gandhi or Priyanka Gandhi would campaign in Karnataka, Parameshwara said,"I don't know whether madam Soniaji is coming. We, however, had requested her. I do not have any information on Priyanka Gandhi."
| Edited by: Bijaya Das
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