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Karnataka elections 2018: Congress to deploy Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh as star campaigners

In a letter to the Election Commission, the Congress said 40 leaders have been chosen as “star campaigners” for the Karnataka elections 2018

Karnataka Elections 2018 Updated: Apr 25, 2018 20:45 IST
Congress president Rahul Gandhi with Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh during the Indian National Congress 84th Plenary Session in New Delhi on  March 18.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi with Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh during the Indian National Congress 84th Plenary Session in New Delhi on March 18.(Sonu Mehta/HT File Photo)

The Congress will deploy 40 of its senior leaders, including the party’s former chief Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and current president Rahul Gandhi, as campaigners in the Karnataka assembly elections.

In a letter to the Election Commission (EC) senior party leader Motilal Vora on Tuesday said the 40 leaders have been chosen as the “star campaigners” for the Congress.

To ensure the ruling Congress’ success in the Karnataka elections, the party will also fly in leaders such as Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram, Shashi Tharoor, Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot, 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 Mohammad Azharuddin among others.

In addition, Congress leaders from Karnataka such as the state in-charge KC Venugopal, state unit chief G Parameshwara, chief minister Siddaramaiah, Lok Sabha lawmaker and former chief minister M Veerappa Moily and state unit working president Dinesh Gundu Rao, among others, will be take part in the campaign.

The party said it will also bring in popular faces from the film industry for campaigning , including actor-turned-politician Raj Babbar, actor and party spokeswoman Kushboo Sundar, renowned Kannada actor and sitting MLA from Mandya MH Ambareesh and former Kannada actor and Congress social media incharge Ramya.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is also contesting in a few of Karnataka’s 224 constituencies, has also named its “star campaigners”.

AAP president and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and other party leaders such as its Rajya Sabha lawmaker Sanjay Singh, Ashutosh and actor and party member Gul Panag among a few others are expected to visit the poll-bound state in the coming days.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will have Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a host of Union ministers and senior leaders campaigning for the party in Karnataka.

Besides Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah, Union ministers Sushma Swaraj, Smriti Irani, Nirmala Sitharaman, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Piyush Goyal and the party’s Lok Sabha lawmaker and veteran actress Hema Malini will soon be making a beeline to Karnataka for campaigning.

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.

Polling will be held in a single phase on May 12 for 224 Assembly seats, including 36 reserved for the Scheduled Castes and 15 for the Scheduled Tribes. The votes will be counted on May 15.