Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president G. Parameshwara on Monday defended giving ticket to those facing criminal cases in various courts, saying that they have not been convicted.

Speaking to presspersons after releasing audio-visual campaign material for the Assembly elections, Dr. Parameshwara said the party rejected the application of Amaresh, who sought ticket to contest from Mulbagal, as he had been convicted in a case.

When pointed out that the Congress had in the past forced many Ministers to resign on the basis of first information reports even though not convicted, the KPCC president said that there was a difference between a Minister and an MLA.

Dr. Parameshwara recalled that former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had wanted the Congress to be “a party with a difference” and said that the party would like to give a corruption-free governance if voted to power.

No differences

Both Dr. Parameshwara and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Siddaramaiah denied that there were serious differences between them as well as Union Labour and Employment Minister Mallikarjun Kharge over ticket distribution. Mr. Siddaramaiah said that they did not have an argument on the issue, let alone clashes, in the meetings of the AICC in New Delhi.

Both said that the Congress had a very strong high command and it has been age-old practice that the chief minister would be decided by the party president. Dr. Parameshwara said in fact other parties should also follow this line.

Earlier, the president admitted to the party Pratapa Gouda Patil, who resigned as BJP MLA representing Maski along with several members of the town and taluk panchayats and the former MLA Somla Naik from Pavagada along with 50 followers each. The latter was accompanied by independent MLA Venkataramanappa, whose son Venkatesh had been given party ticket to contest from Pavagada (reserved) constituency.

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