All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary Vinaykumar Sorake on Monday said that Karnataka, which will witness a multi-cornered contest in the Legislative Assembly elections, would be the “testing ground” for the party to implement some of the important decisions taken at the Jaipur conclave of the AICC. This will, interestingly, have implications for those who are right now vying to join the Congress and awaiting a green signal from the high command.

Speaking to The Hindu , the Congress leader said that AICC president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi had laid “strict criteria” for admitting people from other parties into the Congress as well as giving ticket to them for contesting the elections. Those who once rebelled against the party but now wanted to return to the party fold should be well scrutinised, he said.

He said that yet another decision of the Jaipur conclave was that those who had faced defeats for 15 years in the elections should not be fielded again. He, however, admitted that there were “practical problems in implementing the decisions in toto”, citing the example of Kagodu Thimmappa, who had served the party for decades. That way, Mr. Sorake said that the Assembly elections in the State would provide an opportunity to the Congress to take a fresh look into such things which would have a bearing on the development of the party.

New addition

Mr. Sorake, earlier, welcomed the former Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Shakuntala Shetty from Puttur along with her supporters to the party. He said that her induction would have a “great impact” on the results in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts in the next Assembly elections. Ms. Shetty said that she was hurt when the BJP leaders refused even to cite reasons for not giving ticket to her for contesting in the 2008 Assembly elections. Ms. Shetty said she enjoyed a large following of selfless workers in Puttur and wanted to put them in same hands. Her decision to join the Congress was taken on their advice, she said.

Dr. Parameshwara and Mr. Sorake said that A separate function would be held in Puttur later when thousands of her supporters would join the Congress.

Rejecting the suggestion that it was now the turn of the Congress to launch Operation Hasta (Operation Hand), Dr. Parameshwara said Ms. Shetty had long ago resigned from the BJP and contested as an independent and hence there was sufficient cooling time before joining the Congress.

  • Former BJP MLA from Puttur Shakuntala Shetty joins the Congress

  • ‘Strict criteria’ laid down for admitting people from other parties