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BJP launches Karnataka poll campaign, Congress finalising candidates

Friday March 22, 2013 10:59:43 PM, IANS

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Mysore: Karnataka's ruling BJP Friday launched its campaign at a rally here for the May 5 assembly polls though it is yet to decide its candidates while the Congress focussed on finalizing its nominees.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) started the exercise to retain power, which it won for the first time five years ago, with a public meeting here, 130 km from Bangalore.

This was also the first public meeting addressed by the party's newly appointed state president Pralhad Joshi, a Lok Sabha member from Dharwad in north Karnataka, which is also the hometown of Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar.

Joshi, appointed to the post Thursday, was confident that Karnataka voters would give the party another term despite various corruption scandals and dissidence that has marked its first rule.

The BJP was not bothered about the Karnataka Janata Party, headed by the party's former leader B.S. Yeddyurppa.

Yeddyurappa, who quit the BJP November 30, 2012, to form and head the KJP, has made the defeat of his former party as his main goal. He announced candidates for 69 seats Thursday. They include over 10 former BJP ministers and assembly members who have joined the KJP.

Joshi said the contest would be mainly between the BJP and the Congress in most places while it would be a triangular battle in some areas where Janata Dal-Secular has strong presence.

Shettar, his predecessor D.V. Sadananda Gowda, Deputy Chief Minister K.S. Eshwarappa and party general secretary H.N. Ananth Kumar held the Congress responsible for increasing corruption and rising prices of essential commodities.

Meanwhile, state Congress president G. Parameshwara and Leader of Opposition in the assembly Siddaramaiah were in New Delhi holding talks with the party's central leaders to finalise its candidates.

The state unit has given to the central leadership a list of three to five probables for each of the 224 constituencies.

Nominations open April 10 and close April 17. Polling is scheduled for May 5 and vote count is May 8.

The state assembly is 225-strong, with 224 elected and one nominated.



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