Bengaluru, Dec 7 (PTI) Eyeing a return to power, the ruling Congress in Karnataka will embark on a series of state wide tours, in the run up to the 2018 assembly polls.

In the first phase, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will tour about 124 constituencies, predominantly represented by Congress MLAs to launch a series of government programmes from December 13, KPCC chief G Parameshwara said.

Following this, a team led by Pradesh Congress Committee will tour the remaining 100 odd constituencies that are not represented by the party in the current assembly.

In the second phase, all state Congress leaders including the chief minister together will be touring across the state from March first week, he said.

“Dates are yet to be finalised. It will be party programme,” the KPCC chief told reporters here.

BJP state chief B S Yeddyurappa has already embarked on a state wide tour– ‘Karnataka Parivartana Yatre.’ On the other hand, JD(S)’ H D Kumaraswamy is visiting parts of the state in a specially designed bus under the campaign banner ‘Kumara Parva’.

Siddaramaiah’s state wide tour to launch various government programmes, where he will be predominantly visiting constituencies represented by Congress MLAs, has drawn flak from opposition parties.

Responding to the allegations that the chief minister was touring for party propaganda using public money, Parameshwara clarified that Siddaramaiah will also be visiting constituencies of other party MLAs.

“Wherever possible, chief minister will also be visiting constituencies of BJP and JDS MLAs,” he said.

The KPCC chief also said the party will most probably begin the process to select candidates in about 15 days by appointing observers.

District in-charge ministers have been directed to take more responsibility in their respective districts.

Responding to a question, he said the party’s central election committee will decide on tickets to sitting MLAs and the number of people from one family who can get the ticket.

He also noted that the report on a survey conducted by the party along with confidential report from the district committee is still awaited.

“They will all be considered while selecting candidates,” he said.

Congress had earlier announced a survey to collect data to help it select candidates and decide strategy for the 2018 assembly polls.

He asserted that there were no differences between him and the chief minister.

Media reports in this regard were “false”, Parameshwara said, adding, “we will tour together and take decisions together.”

“In the last seven years that I have been PCC President, there have been no differences between us. We are working collectively and are fulfilling our respective responsibilities,” he said.PTI KSU RA

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.