For the first time, the Congress has given more importance to caste rather than popularity in choosing candidates for the May 5 assembly elections in Karnataka.
Sources in the Karnataka Congress said senior leaders played caste politics to get party tickets for their favourites and had submitted separate lists of candidates belonging to their respective castes to the party's selection panel.
Leading the pack was former external affairs minister SM Krishna. He along with senior leader DK Shivakumar had demanded a major share for Vokaligas in the ticket allocation. Krishna, who has been sulking ever since he was eased out of the union cabinet in October last year, had even met Congress president Sonia Gandhi recently to demand maximum seats for Vokaligas.
Another senior leader Shamanur Shivashankarappa, a leading industrialist, took up the cause of Lingayats. Shivashankarappa, a sitting legislator from Davangere and also the president of All India Veerashaiva Mahasabha, an apex body of Lingayats, has been in the race for the post of Karnataka Congress president for long.
While state unit chief G Parameshwara demanded a lion's share for dalits, Congress Legislature Party leader in the outgoing assembly Siddaramaiah is understood to have pushed for the backward candidates only.
Union minister K Rehman Khan, former central minister CK Jaffer Sharief and party minority cell head Naseer Ahmed had sent their lists of Muslim candidates to the party's screening committee.