Bangalore, March 16 (IANS) Amid expectation that Karnataka assembly poll dates will be announced next week, political parties have begun the candidate selection exercise.
The Congress, hoping to wrest power from Bharatiya Janata Party, Saturday started a two-day meeting of its candidate selection committee at a resort on Bangalore's outskirts while Janata Dal-Secular said it will announce the first list of over 150 nominees by March 23.
The BJP state leaders have begun meetings with district unit leaders as the party is in turmoil with many ministers and assembly members planning to join Karnataka Janata Party led by former BJP chief minister B. S. Yeddyurappa.
Elections to the 225-member assembly are due in May. The term of the assembly ends June 3. Of the 225 members, 224 are elected and one is nominated.
The Congress said in a statement that it has received over 2,000 applications for the 224 seats and a list of probable will be drawn up from them in the next few days.
The Congress meeting is attended by all four central ministers from Karnataka, Mallikarjun Kharge, M. Veerappa Moily, K. Rahman Khan and K. H. Muniyappa, state party president G. Paramehswara, party general secretary in charge of state Madhusudan Mistry and over 50 others who are members of the committee.
The final list of probables will be sent to the party high command for approval soon, D. K. Shivakumar, former minister and member of the selection committee, told reporters ahead of the meeting.
JD-S state president H.D. Kumaraswamy told reporters here that the party has finalized the names for over 150 of the 224 seats and process to select nominees for the remaining constituencies was on.
The BJP has been claiming that it too has finalized the nominees for 150 seats.
However the party is waiting for clear picture to emerge on how many of the over 100 sitting assembly members will stay in the party as there is speculation that around ten of them may join KJP after the election dates are announced.
The BJP strength in the assembly has come down to 104, including the speaker, as 16 have quit the house and the party with majority of them joining KJP.