Bangalore: Senior Congress leaders SM Krishna, Rahman Khan, KH Muniyappa and N Dharam Singh on Saturday skipped the campaign-commencing public rally of the party in Bangalore for the May 5 Assembly elections in Karnataka. Their absence is seen in some party quarters as a direct fall-out of the lobbying that was seen during selection of candidates, with the party struggling to finalise names.
Krishna, former External Affairs Minister and ex-Chief Minister, appeared to have had not much say in the first list of 177 candidates announced by the party last week. Minority Affairs Minister Khan, Labour and Employment Minister M Mallikarjuna Kharge and former Chief Minister Singh are pushing for tickets for their sons, while MSME Minister Muniyappa has sought 'B' form for his daughter.
None of the four succeeded in efforts to get their choices cleared in the first list. Kharge and Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily, also a former Chief Minister, however, were present at the rally on the Malleshwaram grounds, but modest turnout has disappointed the party.
Leaders, who spoke on the occasion, including President of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee G Parameshwara and Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah, slammed the "misrule" and "corruption-tainted" tenure of the BJP government and exuded confidence of the Congress forming the next Government.
Siddaramaiah said a Congress government in Karnataka would establish a special court to recover money from those who plundered the mineral wealth of Karnataka, as highlighted by Lokayukta reports on illegal mining.