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Sonia, Singh to campaign for Congress in Karnataka.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah waves to supporters in Bagalkot.

IANS/Bengaluru

The Congress Party will have 40 of its senior leaders including the party's former chief Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and president Rahul Gandhi, to campaign ahead of the May 12 Karnataka Assembly election. In a letter to the Election Commission (EC), senior party leader Motilal Vora said the 40 leaders have been chosen as "star campaigners" for the Congress. To ensure the ruling Congress' success in the election, the party will also bring leaders like Lok Sabha lawmaker from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor, Rajasthan unit Congress chief Sachin Pilot, the leader of the party in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, the party's Lok Sabha MP from Madhya Pradesh Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia and former cricketer and party leader Mohamed Azharuddin among others. In addition, Congress leaders from Karnataka like K C Venugopal, G Parameshwara, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Lok Sabha lawmaker and former chief minister M Veerappa Moily and state unit working president Dinesh Gundu Rao will also be a part of the campaign. The party said it will also bring in popular faces from the film industry for campaigning like actor-turned-politician Raj Babbar, actress and party spokeswoman Kushboo Sundar, renowned Kannada actor and sitting legislator from Mandya M H Ambareesh and former Kannada actress Ramya. In a related development, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which is also contesting in some of the 224 constituencies, has also named its "star campaigners". The AAP president and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and other party leaders like its Rajya Sabha lawmaker Sanjay Singh, Ashutosh and actor and party member Gul Panag among others, are expected to visit the state in the coming days. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will have Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a host of central ministers and senior leaders campaigning for the party in Karnataka. Besides Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, federal Ministers Sushma Swaraj (External Affairs), Smriti Irani (Information and Broadcasting), Nirmala Sitharaman (Defence), Ravi Shankar Prasad (Law and Justice), Piyush Goyal (Railways) and the party's Lok Sabha lawmaker and veteran actress Hema Malini will campaign in the state. Modi is expected to visit each of the state's four regions - coastal, north, central and south - besides Bengaluru and Mysuru, starting May 1, addressing two to three rallies a day till May 10. The prime minister will interact today morning with all the BJP candidates. He will also meet the state BJP office bearers and all elected representatives of the state through the Narendra Modi mobile app, the BJP said. The prime minister will address over 15 rallies in the state starting from Udupi on May 1. The Congress meanwhile taunted Modi's government for letting off Karnataka's infamous Reddy mining brothers and fielding three of them for the May 12 election. "The Modi government has become the benefactor, protector, defender of the Bellary Gang (Reddy brothers) for denuding Kannadigas of their rich natural resources through its puppet CBI," Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said. Terming the iron ore mining scam as the biggest in the state, Surjewala said the then anti-graft watchdog Justice Santosh Hegde exposed the unholy nexus of BJP's chief ministerial face B S Yeddyurappa with the Reddy brothers. "The state Lokayukta's report of July 27, 2011 led to the removal of Yeddyurappa as the BJP's first chief minister in the south on July 31, 2011. No wonder Yeddyurappa and Reddy brothers are jail birds," Surjewala said. Accusing the BJP of betraying Kannadigas and protecting the Reddy brothers, the Congress leader said iron ore valued at Rs350bn was mined, extracted and sold to domestic and export markets illegally as revealed in the probe report. Polling will be held on May 12. The votes will be counted on May 15.

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Publication:Gulf Times (Doha, Qatar)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Apr 25, 2018
Words:651
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