Congress leader in the outgoing Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and former Union Ministers M Veerappa Moily and KH Muniyappa are among candidates the party high command cleared to contest from 18 parliamentary seats in Karnataka on late Saturday.

“The party’s central election committee selected 18 candidates in New Delhi to contest from Karnataka in the general elections to be held in the state in two phases on April 18 and April 23,” a party’s state unit official told IANS here. Vote count is on May 23.

As per the seat-sharing agreement with its alliance partner Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), the Congress is contesting from 20 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats from the southern state, including 5 reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC) and two for Scheduled Tribes (ST).

The party is yet to name candidates for Bangalore South and Bangalore North.

JD-S will contest from the remaining 8 parliamentary seats. Vote count is on May 23.

Kharge will re-contest from Gulabarga (SC) seat, about 600km northwest of Bengaluru. Moily from Chikkabalapur, about 60km northeast and Muniyappa from Kolar, about 100km east of Bengaluru.

Party’s state unit working president Eshwar Khandre, who is a legislator from the Bhalki assembly segment, will contest from Bidar, about 670km northwest of Bengaluru.

The other 15 candidates are Prakash Hukkeri from Chikkodi, Virupakshi Sadhunnavar from Belgaum, Veena Kashappanavar from Bagalkot, B. V. Nayak from Raichur (SC), Rajashekar Itnal from Koppal, U. S. Ugrappa from Bellary (ST), D. R. Patil from Haveri, Shamanur Shivashankarappa from Davanegere, Mithun Rai from Dakshina Kannada, B. N. Chandrappa from Chitradurga (SC), Vijayashankar from Mysore, R. Dhruva Narayan from Chamarajanagar (SC), D. K. Suresh from Bangalore Rural, and Rizwan Arshad from Bangalore Central.

Veena is the lone woman candidate in the Congress list from the state so far.