Congress on Sunday released its list of 218 candidates for the upcoming assembly elections in Karnataka. CM Siddaramaiah will contest from Chamundeshwari while his son Yatheendra will fight from Varuna constituency in the crucial polls.
The polling to elect a new Karnataka Assembly will be held on May 12 while the counting of votes will take place on May 15.
The party has not applied the "one-family, one-ticket" formula for the Karnataka polls as it granted tickets to the chief minister and his son, the Home minister and his daughter, and the Law minister and his son.
The Congress had followed this rule in the Punjab polls held last year.
Sources said that while the party has dropped 12 sitting MLAs, all the ministers were given a ticket.
The first list includes 15 women candidates and the names of the seven former JD-S and two ex-BJP legislators who joined the party earlier this year.
The chief minister's son, Yatheendra, was fielded by the Congress from the Varuna Assembly constituency (Mysore), while Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy will contest the polls from BTM Layout and his daughter Soumya R from the Jayanagara Assembly constituency (Bengaluru).
Law minister T B Jayachandra's son Santosh Jayachandra was given a ticket from the Chikanayakanhalli Assembly seat (Tumkur).
Senior Congress leader's son Priyank Kharge was given a ticket and he will contest the polls from the Chitapur (Reserved) seat in Gulbarga district.
The party said it has left the Melukota Assembly seat (AC-188), for Karnataka Raitha Sangha's candidate, who will contest in alliance with the Congress.
Sitting MLAs who were denied a ticket include Basavaraj Shivannavar from Badgy, Manohar Tehsildar from Hangal, Shiv Moorti Nayak from Mycunda, Turuverevere from Shriniwas and Sharabsherry from Tiptur.
Former BJP MLAs Nagendra and Anand Singh, who joined the Congress, and former JD-S MLAs Zamir Ahmed Khan, Chelluvar Ayyasamy, Iqbal Ansari, Akhanda Srinivas Moorthi, Blakrishna, Bheema Nayak and Ramesh Bendi Siddhagowda were also given tickets.
The Congress is yet to announce its candidates for the Sindagi, Kittur, Nagathana, Melukote, Raichur and Shantinagar assembly seats.
The Karnataka elections are being considered as the most prestigious battle between the Congress and the BJP as it is the only major state where the Congress is in power at present and retaining it is crucial for the party's morale ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The BJP is making a concerted bid to unseat the Congress.
The term of the current 224-member legislative Assembly ends on May 28.
Controversy over Karnataka poll dates: Election Commission clarifies there was no leak
An in-house committee set up by the Election Commission to probe the alleged leak of Karnataka poll schedule minutes before the official announcement, clarified that the information was not leaked but mere speculation.
The EC had set up the committee after the BJP's IT cell chief announced in a tweet the schedule for the Karnataka Assembly polls before the official declaration on March 27. He, however, had got the date for counting of votes wrong.
The committee noted that the media has speculated election schedules before and it seemed similar attempts were made in the case of Karnataka elections.
Ahead of the official announcement on March 27 by Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat, BJP IT-cell chief Amit Malviya had tweeted that voting will be held on May 12 and the counting will take place on May 18.
He was correct about the day of voting, but got the counting date wrong. The counting will take place on May 15.
The panel said Malviya, in another tweet, had attributed a news channel as his source.
In his press conference to announce the poll schedule, Rawat had described the leak as a "very serious" issue that merited a probe and "stringent action".
Immediately after Malviya's tweet, the Congress said: "BJP becomes the 'Super Election Commission' as they announce poll dates for Karnataka even before the EC. Credibility of EC is on test."
The committee has noted that the information of alleged leak appeared in public domain for the first time at 11.06 am.
"From the responses, it can be safely concluded that the alleged information was first displayed on (the TV channel) which was used by all others in tweet/media (TV)," the report said, adding since the counting date did not matched with the actual date, "it can be safely concluded that the alleged leak contained different information about the schedule of election".