Congress Releases Third List of Candidates

The list consists of 56 candidates for eight states and Union Territories including Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telangana, West Bengal and Puducherry….reports Asian Lite News

Congress released the third list of 56 candidates for the Lok Sabha elections on Thursday, fielding Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury from West Bengal’s Berhampore, which he has been representing since 1999.

While Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge’s son-in-law, Radhakrishna, will contest from the Gulbarga Lok Sabha seat in Karnataka.

The list consists of 56 candidates for eight states and Union Territories including Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telangana, West Bengal and Puducherry.

Congress has again fielded Chowdhury from Berhampore, setting up the much-anticipated clash between the veteran Congress leader and cricketer-turned-politician Yusuf Pathan, who has been fielded by the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal.

In Rajasthan, the party has named Sunil Sharma from Jaipur, Sangeeta Beniwal from Pali, Umeda Ram Beniwal from Barmer, Urmila Jain Bhaya from Jhalawar-Baran and Kuldeep Indora from Ganganagar.

The party, however, will fight in alliance with the CPI-M on the Sikar parliamentary seat in the state.

The party has announced the candidates for eight seats in West Bengal.

In Karnataka, it has fielded Priyanka Jarkiholi from Chikkodi, Radhakrishna from Gulbarga (SC), Vinod Asooti from Dharwad, former Rajya Sabha member M Rajeev Gowda from Bangalore North, Sowmya Reddy from Bangalore South and Mansoor Ali Khan from Bangalore Central, among others.

Former Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Nabam Tuki has been fielded from Arunachal West.

In Gujarat, the party has named Congress Legislative Party leader in the Gujarat Assembly Amit Chawda from Gujarat’s Anand, while Sonal Patel from Gandhinagar, Prabhaben Taviyad from Dahod (ST) and Nilesh Kumbani from Surat, among others.

With this, the party has declared a total of 138 candidates for the polls.

Earlier, the Congress had released its second list of 43 candidates from four states. Sitting Lok Sabha MP and former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s son Gaurav Gogoi will be contesting from Jorhat constituency in the state.

‘Dynasty’ candidates in Karnataka

 The Karnataka Congress on Thursday announced the names of 17 candidates for the ensuing Lok Sabha elections, polling for which will be held in two phases in the state.

A committee, headed by Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge, is yet to finalise the candidates for Kolar, Chitradurga, Chikkaballapur, Chamarajanagar and Bellary constituencies.

The Congress had on March 8 released its list of seven candidates.

The second list of 17 candidates announced by the party include the children of five state Cabinet ministers. This distribution of tickets has emerged as a topic of debate among party members regarding the choice of candidates with political backgrounds.

Most of the tickets have been allocated to “dynasty” candidates to face the BJP-JD(S) alliance in Karnataka.

BJP leader Basanagowda Patil Yatnal criticized the Congress for prioritizing dynasty politics over nurturing grassroots workers within the party.

“The Congress party is known for favouring dynasty politics over providing opportunities for its grassroots workers,” said BJP Leader Basanagowda Patil Yatnal.

A detailed examination of the list reveals the inclusion of several candidates with significant political lineage and financial backing. 

These include Priyanka Jarakiholi, daughter of Satish Jarakiholi, a prominent figure in the Belagavi region, who secured a ticket from Chikkodi despite it being her debut in elections. 

The powerful “Jarakiholi family” in the Belagavi region already holds many key posts in Karnataka. Priyanka Jarakiholi whose father is Satish Jarakiholi a Cabinet Minister for PWD, has been given a ticket from Chikkodi. It’s her first election, and she has received a Lok Sabha ticket.

The Belagavi ticket has been given to DK Shivakumar-backed Cabinet Minister Lakshmi Hebbalkar’s son, Mrinal, who is entering politics with a Lok Sabha ticket.

Rajshekhar Patil, a former minister, who was demanding a Lok Sabha ticket from Bidar, has been overlooked and instead, the Congress party has given a ticket to Sagar Khandre, the son of Karnataka Cabinet Minister Eshwar Khandre.

The Koppal ticket has been given to Rajshekar Hitnal, who is the brother of MLA and Siddaramaiah follower Raghavendra Hitnal.

The Davanagere ticket has been allotted to Prabha Mallikarjun, who is Cabinet Minister SS Mallikarjun’s wife and daughter-in-law of senior Lingayat leader and MLA Shamanur Shivshankarappa.

The Bengaluru South ticket has been given to Soumya Reddy, who is Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy’s daughter. She lost the 2023 assembly election from Jayanagar against BJP Candidate Ramamurthy.

The ticket for Bengaluru Rural has been given to DK Suresh, the State Congress President and Deputy CM DK Shivakumar’s brother.

The Shivamogga ticket has been given to former CM Bangarappa’s daughter, actor Shivaraj Kumar’s wife, and Cabinet Minister Madhu Bangarappa’s sister, Geetha Shivarajkumar.

The JDS stronghold Hassan Congress ticket has been allotted to Shreyas Patel, who is Puttaswamy Gowda’s grandson.

The Congress has chosen Samyukta Patil, daughter of Minister Shivanand Patil from Bagalkot.

Radhakrishna,who is Mallikarjun Kharge’s son-in-law has been chosen to contest in Gulbarga.

Meanwhile, from Koppal, the party has fieled Rajshekar Hitnal the brother of Raghavendra Hitnal.

Prabha Mallikarjun, the husband of SS Mallikarjun, has been fielded from Davanagere.

“The list itself proves the agenda of the Congress ticket-sharing idea. It has nothing to do with social justice; it’s about the next generation entry of politically-backed families. Workers like us, who are working day and night, are still on the streets campaigning for them,” said a lady Congress worker who has been working in Congress for more than two decades.

The BJP leaders argue that this candidate list reflects the Congress’s inclination towards dynastic political legacies rather than promoting social justice or meritocracy within the party.

BJP spokesperson S Prakash denounced the list, alleging that it exposes the Congress’s false claims of championing social justice, asserting that it primarily benefits leaders’ relatives.

Criticizing the list of candidates, BJP spokesperson S Prakash said, “The list shows the fake narrative of the Congress, which dramatically talks of social justice. It’s only justice for their leaders’ sons, brothers, and daughters.”

The Congress in Karnataka, which desperately needs to win more numbers in the 28 Lok Sabha seats (having won just one seat from Bengaluru Rural (DK Suresh)), asked and consulted many ministers to contest. After their denial, it has fielded new-generation youngsters to Lok Sabha, giving responsibility to their families to win the seat.

“We need to have more numbers to raise a voice in parliament in favour of Karnataka. I wish all the best to all who got tickets,” wished CM Siddaramaiah.

On the other side, the BJP is also in a dilemma to win more seats from Karnataka to retain its old record. This time, JD(S) has also announced their support in 25 Lok Sabha seats except Kolar, Hassan, and Mandya, which JD(S) is demanding.

In many constituencies, the announced list has led to internal fights, creating significant tension within the BJP.

Mandhuswamy, a former minister who wanted a ticket from Tumakuru, has been passed over in favour of V Somanna, who lost in the Varuna and Chamarajanagar assembly constituencies in the 2023 assembly elections.

After the candidate for Bengaluru North was changed due to backlash against Shobha Karandlaje from Udupi-Chickamagalur, MP Sadananda Gowda announced his retirement from electoral politics. He expressed his unhappiness and stated that one family is controlling the BJP in the state, indirectly attacking BS Yediyurappa’s family.

KS Eshwarappa has become a thorn in the side of BS Yediyurappa’s family and the BJP from Shivamogga. He announced that he would contest independently against BY Raghavendra and stated that the BJP in Karnataka is under the control of one family, BS Yediyurappa’s family, and he wants to cleanse it.

Prajwal Revanna, son of MLA Revanna and grandson of HD Devegowda, is most likely to be fielded from Hassan, but BJP leaders and cadre have shown no interest in this and are opposing the decision.

Former two-time CM, JDS MLA, and JDS state president HD Kumaraswamy is likely to contest from Mandya, as Sumalatha, a BJP-supported independent candidate, is likely to miss the ticket.

The JDS is also demanding a Lok Sabha seat from Kolar, stating favouritism towards the JDS in the Kolar constituency.

The Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka are scheduled to take place in two phases. The first phase, involving 14 constituencies, will be held on April 26. The second phase, also involving 14 constituencies, will take place on May 7. (ANI)

Himachal Candidates to be Finalised Soon

The State General Secretary of the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee, Rajneesh Kimta, on Thursday said that the Congress party will finalize the candidates for Lok Sabha in ten days. The party has kept options open for the return of rebel and disqualified legislators.

“In all four parliamentary constituencies, we received applications and all have been submitted to the Congress High Command. The names have been discussed in the screening committee meeting and very soon another meeting will be conducted in 10 to 12 days. The candidates will be finalized after the meeting of the central election committee,” said Rajneesh Kimta while speaking to ANI.

“As far as the BJP is concerned they are over-ambitious and in a hurry. They should not forget they lost in elections and also in assembly. We shall field the strong candidates and shall win all elections,” added Kimta.

On being asked on the announcement by the state party chief (Pratibha Singh) for withdrawal of candidature from the Mandi parliamentary he said that she will answer and there is no resentment among the party workers.

“I don’t know why she has said so because there is no one in the party who is annoyed. We have fulfilled the promises and delivered to every section of the society. We have managed during the disaster in the state. We have given a package of 4500 crore rupees to the people of the state despite not getting any support from the union government, added the State General Secretary.

The Congress leader further said, “We have implemented the Old Pension Scheme and provided an honorarium of 1500 rupees to the women. Also, support prices were increased and apple prices to the Farmers, there is no problem in the party. Our leaders are not denying and it’s good that Kaul Singh has advocated for young people.”

“Whatever situation has arisen in the disqualification of MLAs, the people have given a mandate against the BJP and if we have to go for a by-election, we shall win all. We are open to talks with the rebels to come back to power. Everything went well at the party. After Holi festival we shall organize a meeting of the coordination committee,” Kimta added further.

For four parliamentary seats, in Shimla SC constituency 16 Congress leaders have applied, for Kangra, 13 leaders have applied, for Hamirpur 5 congress leaders have applied to contest and for Mandi, three candidates have applied.

Himachal Pradesh has four Lok Sabha seats — Hamirpur, Mandi, Shimla, and Kangra. The BJP had won all four seats in 2019. Later, former chief minister Virbhadra Singh’s wife Pratibha Singh snatched Mandi from the BJP in a bypoll necessitated in 2021 following the death of incumbent MP Ram Swaroop Sharma.

The bypolls to six Assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh, fallen vacant following the disqualification of Congress MLAs, will be held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls on June 1, state’s Chief Electoral Officer Maneesh Garg said earlier. The counting of votes will be held on June 4. (ANI)

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