Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President G Parameshwara has not ruled out induction of a few more members from other parties to fight the upcoming assembly polls, days after three MLAs joined the party fold.
At the same time, he said the winning potential of the candidates who want to join the party will be the key factor for gaining entry.
Three MLAs -- B S Anand Singh (BJP MLA representing Vijayanagar), B Nagendra (independent MLA representing Kudligi) and Ashok Kheny (Karnataka Makkala Paksha MLA from Bidar) -- were inducted in recent weeks, sparking criticism from the opposition that the Congress was roping in all "tainted" leaders as a desperate measure.
Parameshwara, however, rejected the possibility of inducting mining baron and former minister from the BJP, G Janardhan Reddy.
In an interview to PTI, Parameshwara said that the party is all geared up for the polls and its candidates are likely to be announced by end of the month.
"Winning each seat is crucial for the party and therefore tickets will be distributed to those who have the potential and acceptability at the ground level," he said
Asked if more members will be inducted, he said, "There are few people. Earlier I had made a statement that a large number of BJP and JDS members are wanting to join. But we are very selective."
"If there is a strong candidate in a particular constituency from our own party, I don't think we need anyone. If there is a weak candidate and fits into our scheme of things, then we may consider," he added.
Defending induction of the three MLAs, he said they were taken into the party purely on the basis of a "political decision and there was no other pressure or consideration".
"The party hopes to gain from their seats in Bidar, Kudligi and Vijayanagar. They have been inducted without any condition. Whether to offer them tickets or not will be decided by the Congress President Rahul Gandhi."
Kheny "is a winning candidate", the KPCC chief said, adding that "when he expressed the wish to join the Congress, we thought if we are winning one seat, why not."
There are allegation of irregularities against Kheny's company Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE), which built a ring-road in Bengaluru.
"And the law will take its own course. The reason is it is taking too long a time, almost 14-15 years now. It is going on and nobody knows the actual position. There is no pressure to take him and it was purely politics and the Congress wanted to win that seat."
Similarly, Anand Singh is a strong candidate, Parameshwara said and added, "We tried to win that seat (Vijayanagar) for two terms, we could not win. He is still very strong and he will definitely win that seat with any party ticket. We did not go to him. He approached us."
Parameshwara, a dalit and who has also served as Home Minister of Karnataka from 2015 to 2017, said the party will win the assembly polls on the issue of development.
Asked why the chief minister is targeting BJP on communal issues in his rallies instead talking about development, he said, "When the prime minister comes to the state and talks about 10 per cent commission government, we cannot keep quiet. We only have to give them a befitting reply."
He exuded confidence that the party will get enough seats to form a government. "We will form a government on our own. There will not be a hung assembly," he said.
On the reported infighting between Parameshwara and Siddaramaiah camps, he said, "We are a one strong united party. We have absolutely no differences. Yes, when there is an issue, we may have different opinions but we don't differ against the opponent. We are a well-prepared party compared to even 2013."
He said there is no 'Modi wave' and there won't be any impact in the state after the BJP's victory in the north east. "It is totally a different scenario in Karnataka because we have a pro-active government. There is no anti-incumbency factor," the Congress leader said.
Asked if there would be a dalit chief minister, he said, "It is purely left to the party High Command and Congress Legislative Party (CLP). We are fine if it is Siddaramaiah or somebody else."
Noting that the party is not polarising voters, he said: "We are empowering and giving them their share. If you look at the Sachar Committee report, the status of minorities is pathetic. So, we need to give them opportunity."
Asked why the government has not implemented the Sadashiva Commission report that suggested reclassification of Scheduled Castes (SCs) to provide reservation, he said: "We don't know what is in the report. Unofficially, people are talking about it. There is no official acceptance of the report."
"The report has been placed before the House. A cabinet sub-committee has been set up and it has not yet given its recommendations."
With the election campaign gaining momentum, he said that Rahul Gandhi will tour Mysore on March 20-21 and 24-25, and will later visit Bengaluru.
"The party workers have been trained to face elections for the first time in Karnataka Congress' history. Around 54,000 booths have been established with 6.5 lakh booth workers, he added.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)