A host of Congress leaders, including Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, will extensively campaign in the State for party candidates in the Assembly elections.

Union Labour and Employment Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge told The Hindu here on Friday that Ms. Gandhi and Mr. Rahul Gandhi would campaign in Hyderabad Karnataka region.

Others who would campaign in the State include Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union Ministers Ghulam Nabi Azad, Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid, Chiranjeevi and Purandeswari, besides Oscar Fernandes.

Mr. Kharge said the itineraries of Ms. Gandhi, Mr. Rahul Gandhi and Dr. Manmohan Singh had not yet been finalised.

The Congress was confident of gaining majority on its own, Mr. Kharge said.

The party won 80 seats in the 2008 elections and its vote share was higher than that of the BJP, he said and added that “this time, the situation is favourable for the Congress. The morale of party workers is high and we will win.”

Mr. Kharge said the Congress, like other parties, was not free from the rebel menace.

Rebel factor

In the first list of 177 candidates, there was opposition to the choice of only around 10 people. The rebel factor would not affect the party’s prospects, the Union Minister claimed.

Mr. Kharge said the KJP and BJP were two faces of the same coin, and both were not ideologically much different from each other.

The former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa did not quit the BJP on ideological grounds.

He said the Congress considered BJP as its main rival in a majority of the constituencies in the State. The Janata Dal (S) was strong in a few pockets of south Karnataka and the KJP at some places in north Karnataka, he said and added that the fight was essentially between the Congress and the BJP.

Mr. Kharge said the State’s Election Campaign Committee would form teams of senior leaders for electioneering, and the campaign would be launched in Bangalore on Saturday.

On the leadership issue, Mr. Kharge said that the party high command would take a decision after the poll results.

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