Karnataka polls: Congress to unleash big guns as Rahul on ground tomorrow
DECCAN CHRONICLE | Ashhar Khan
NEW DELHI: The Congress is all set to deploy its "star campaigners" in Karnataka. As part of that exercise, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will start his campaign in the state on Monday. He will be addressing a rally in Belgavi and is expected to make several announcements, including the release of the youth manifesto. This will be Mr Gandhi’s first visit to Karnataka after his Bharat Jodo Yatra. Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge will be accompanying him.
Congress is planning to make it a star-studded campaign leading up to election day. Senior party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has already visited the state earlier and is expected to play a key role in wooing women voters.
The first meeting of the party's central election committee (CEC) took place in the national capital. Insiders claim that almost 125 names have been cleared by the CEC and the first list will be announced on the day of the Ugadi festival on March 22. Ugadi is celebrated as an auspicious day and a new year in Karnataka.
The second CEC for the remaining seats will be held next week. The party is aiming to win at least 150 seats out of the total 224 in the Assembly elections. State unit chief D.K. Shivkumar said that the Congress MLAs have done a good job and most of the sitting MLAs will be repeated.
Making the stand of the party clear, Mr Shivakumar said the party will contest the upcoming state Assembly elections alone. "No alliance with anyone. We are going alone. We are fighting alone. We will come to power alone."
The party is concentrating specifically on local issues. They have been targeting sitting BJP chief minister Basavaraj Bommai in the last couple of months over allegations of corruption. Mr Shivkumar and former chief minister Siddaramaiah have crisscrossed the state with their "Praja Dhwani" yatra, highlighting the BJP government's failures.
As the new Congress president hails from Karnataka, he is keen to wrest power from the BJP in the state. He has ensured the factionalism prevailing in the state is brought to an end. In the coming days, the party will also release its manifesto; besides a general manifesto, there will be sector-specific promises that will be made. The elections for the Karnataka Assembly are slated to be held in May this year.