After much high drama over party-hopping by politicians and speculation on the choice of candidates for the Assembly elections on May 5, the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Opposition Congress and Janata Dal (S) released their first list of candidates on Friday.

Of the 224 Assembly constituencies from which elections are being held, the BJP’s first list has 140 names, while the Congress and the JD(S) have announced 177 and 122 candidates respectively.

The Congress, which faced weeklong protests by ticket seekers and hordes of their supporters, released its first list in Delhi, which includes top leaders KPCC president G. Parameshwara (Koratagere - SC) and the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah (Varuna).

The AICC has given ticket to Independent MLA Shivaraj Thangadagi (Kanakagiri - SC) and H.V. Venkatesh (Pavagada - SC), son of another Independent MLA Venkataramanappa, as well as MLAs B.C. Patil (Hirekerur) and Malikayya Guttedar (Afzalpur). However, C.P. Yogeshwar, who joined the Congress recently from the BJP, has been left out.

The BJP’S list released in Delhi by the party’s Central Election Committee has the names of most of the sitting MLAs. As the debate is raging on whether the party should keep out MLAs facing charges or merely go by the ‘winnability’ factor without bothering about their antecedents, the first list does not have the names of MLAs such as Katta Subramanya Naidu, S. N. Krishnaiah Setty and Y. Sampangi who are facing inquiries. Similarly, the party has kept out its Udupi MLA Raghupati Bhat, who has figured in some scandals.

Another highlight of the list is that Industries Minister and Karnataka Janata Paksha leader B.S. Yeddyurappa’s close aide Murugesh Nirani has been given ticket to contest from his original constituency, Bilagi, though he was trying to shift his political base to Jamkhandi.

The JD(S) list has named H.D. Kumaraswamy, Anitha Kumaraswamy, P.G.R. Sindhia, Bandeppa Kashempur, N. Cheluvarayaswamy and Basanagouda Patil Yatnal.

Narasimha Naik (Raju Gowda), Manappa Vajjal, Parimala Nagappa, G.T. Deve Gowda and H.S. Shankaralinge Gowda, who quit the BJP and returned to the JD(S), have also got ticket from the constituencies of their choice.

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