Bangalore: Congress in Karnataka is putting together a high-voltage campaign for the May five assembly polls, with Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan slated to address public meetings even as it is set to unleash celebrity power.
Congress Campaign committee today held a meeting chaired by Veeranna Mathikatti and discussed the strategy. Mathikatti said party President Sonia Gandhi, Vice-President Rahul Gandhi and Singh would address public rallies.
The party would field popular Kannada actors Darshan, Ramya and Bhavana, who is a member of the committee, to woo the voters, besides Kannada film veteran Ambareesh who is also a contender for the assembly ticket, party sources said.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee premises became a venue for protests as well as celebrations. Though the party is yet to officially announce the list, supporters of those who are believed to have got the ticket were in cheerful mood. Loyalists of those who feared they lost out held noisy demonstrations.
"There are so many contenders and we can`t satisfy everybody. It`s normal for those who fail to get ticket to protest. Congress workers would not work against the party and the candidates", said the Leader of Opposition in the assembly Siddaramaiah said while seeking to downplay the protests.
Both Congress and ruling BJP are expected to announce their first list of candidates later this week. The first day of filing nominations is on April ten.
There was speculation over whether Ministers Umesh Katti, Murugesh Nirani and V Somanna would quit BJP and join B S Yeddyurappa`s Karnataka Janatha Paksha (KJP). Katti made it clear in Belgaum today he would contest on a BJP ticket. "The rumours that I will join KJP is the creation of the media".
There were indications from Nirani and Somanna today that they would remain in the ruling party.
Meanwhile, BJP MLA from Lingasagur, Manappa Vajjal, quit the party today to join JD(S). He would contest the election on a JD(S) ticket.
JD(S) MLA from Maddur Kalpana Siddaraju quit the party today after she was denied a ticket. She has now sought a ticket from the Congress.