One former minister from the BJP government and the son of another former BJP minister were among 177 candidates who found representation in the first list of candidates announced by the All India Congress Committee on Friday for the May 5 elections to the 224-member Karnataka Assembly.
The first list,while keeping in abeyance some of the more dissidence causing candidates,including those of the progeny of some senior Congress leaders,has given representation to seven women and 13 Muslim candidates while also balancing caste equations of the major communities.
While the first list of Congress candidates largely includes all sitting MLAs,long-time party loyalists,former ministers and supporters of the most powerful leaders Siddaramaiah,Mallikarjun Kharge,G Parameshwar,S M Krishna and Veerappa Moily it has also given representation to some candidates who were ignored last time around.
Shivaraj Tangadgi,who was until recently the agriculture co-operatives minister in the BJP government,who fought as an Independent in the 2008 polls and then offered his support to the BJP to form its government has been given the Congress ticket from the Kanakagiri reserved SC constituency.
H V Venkatesh the son of former minister for small scale industries and sericulture in the BJP government Venkataramanappa (who was also denied a Congress ticket last time) was chosen to contest from the Pavagada reserved constituency.
Congress stalwarts who are on the first list of candidates include state president G Parameshwar from the reserved scheduled caste constituency of Koratagere in the Tumkur district and the leader of the opposition in the 13th Assembly Siddaramaiah,a backward class Kuruba leader from Varuna in Mysore,both of whom are considered aspirants for the chief ministers post if the Congress wins the polls.
Other veteran Congress leaders in the fray are H K Patil,a leader of the dominant Lingayat caste from Gadag in north Karnataka,former Congress president R V Deshpande from Haliyal and film star Vokkaliga leader M H Ambareesh from Mandya in south Karnataka.
According to Congress sources the AICC has attempted an elaborate exercise to identify candidates most likely to win the elections during the process of screening by drawing on inputs from leaders recommending candidates,cross checking with other leaders and getting independent ground inputs.
The Congress also attempted to put in stringent guidelines like the rejection of candidates who lost by more than 20,000 votes in the 2008 polls as well as restricting tickets to multiple family members.
Yet,the first list of the Congress has the father-son,real estate duo of M Krishnappa and Priya Krishna contesting from neighbouring constituencies in Bangalore.
Bangalore police chief transferred
Complying with an Election Commission directive,the BJP government in Karnataka on Friday transferred Bangalore Police Commissioner B G Jyothiprakash Mirji ahead of the May 5 Assembly elections.
Home Secretary Raghavendra H Auradkar,who was posted in his place,took over charge on Friday. Sources said the Commission had shot down three names suggested by the state government and insisted on Auradkars appointment. This order is issued as per the direction of Election Commission of India for smooth conduct of elections in a free and fair manner, an official notification said.
After taking charge,Auradkar sought cooperation of all political parties. Meanwhile,Mirji said he was neither disappointed nor unhappy. He said being a government servant,he had assumed and relinquished charge often during 37 years of service.