Congress begins candidate screening for Karnataka poll

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New Delhi/ Bangalore: The Congress on Monday began screening aspirants to contest the May 5 Karnataka assembly poll and hoped to release the first list by this month end.

While the Congress exercise began in New Delhi, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party leaders would meet in Bangalore on Tuesday to pick the party’s nominees.

The state assembly is 225-member strong – 224 elected and one nominated. Nominations for the 224 seats open on April 10 and close on April 17.

State Congress leaders, including president G. Parameshwara and party leader in the assembly Siddaramaiah, are in New Delhi attending the three-day meeting of the party’s screening panel to shortlist the candidates’ names.

The panel is headed by former Goa chief minister Luzinho Falerio.

The list drawn up by the screening panel would be submitted to party central selection committee for final approval, Parameshwara told reporters in New Delhi. The first list might be released by March 30, he said.

The screening committee is going through the list of over 500 probable candidates submitted by the state unit which had received around 2,000 applications.

The state BJP leaders would meet in Bangalore on Tuesday to begin the selection of candidates, state unit president Pralhad Joshi and Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar told reporters in Hubli, about 300 km north of Bangalore.

Joshi indicated that the party was not in a hurry to finalise the names.

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