Yardsticks differ when it comes to screening and finalising names

The three major political parties in Karnataka — the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal (Secular) — are facing difficulties in identifying a “winnable” candidate for each one of the 28 Lok Sabha constituencies, which is not uncommon though in the run-up to the elections.

While on the one hand there are far too many ticket aspirants, on the other is the difficulty in evolving a foolproof screening process and choosing the right candidate.

Over the weekend, the Congress has been successful in clearing a list of 14 candidates, while the BJP announced a list of 20 candidates.

The Janata Dal(S) is expected to announce the party’s list of candidates in a few days, and being a regional party, it has to naturally play a waiting game to pick the right candidates.

None of the political parties, however, can vouch that these candidates can stand up to a tough contest given the fact that the eligibility criteria or the yardstick deployed by the parties in the initial stage of screening is one and that used for finalising the candidates is another.

The name of M. Veerappa Moily, Union Minister for Petroleum, is missing in the first list announced by the Congress high command and this has raised many an eyebrow, particularly in the State given the fact that Mr. Moily is identified as one belonging to the inner circle of AICC president Sonia Gandhi.

Incidentally, the Congress high command had conveyed that all the members of the Lok Sabha would be the natural choice for party ticket.

The Congress has nine members in the Lok Sabha from the State, and eight of them have been given ticket, including Ramya and D.K. Suresh, novices in politics who made it big thanks to their success in the byelections.

The announcement of the first list by the Congress has brought to the fore the deep unrest within the State unit of the party. It is common knowledge that the Congress here has been a divided house for over a decade but it was also widely believed that the victory in the last Legislative Assembly elections had put it on the road to unity.

While fingers were pointed at Mr. Veerappa Moily when he fielded his son Harsha Moily in the primary election for selection of candidate for the Dakshina Kannada seat (B. Janardhana Poojary has since been elected as the candidate), his (Mr. Veerappa Moily) name itself is yet to be announced for the Chickballapur seat.

Interestingly, the Congress Election Committee has given ticket to S.S. Mallikarjun (Davangere North MLA) to contest from the Davangere Lok Sabha seat, Arkalgud MLA A. Manju from Hassan and to the former cricketer Prakash Rathod from Bijapur (reserved) constituency.

It is said that they were the lone aspirants for the party ticket and the Congress high command has reposed confidence in them.

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