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In major break from tradition, Rahul Gandhi changes candidate selection process for election-bound states

By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 04, Sep 2018, 20:41 pm IST | UPDATED: 04, Sep 2018, 20:49 pm IST

In major break from tradition, Rahul Gandhi changes candidate selection process for election-bound states New Delhi: In a major break from the past tradition, Congress president Rahul Gandhi has changed the way candidates would be finalised in election-bound states. The screening committees to short-list candidates in election-bound states of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan would now travel to each Assembly segment to get independent intelligence from Ground Zero to decide on the best suited candidates.

Making the so-far opaque candidate selection process more democratic, Gandhi has asked the three-member screening committees to get their hands dirty on the ground. Till now, the screening committees interacted with the state units and then recommended a panel of candidates, 3-5 candidates, in each constituency to the party president-led central election committee. While the screening committees took the views of the state unit on board, there has never been a precedent of the committee members travelling and gathering intelligence on candidates themselves.

According to sources, the idea to change present process was initiated by state Congress unit in Chhattisgarh. The state unit recommended that rather than ticket aspirants going to Delhi, camping at All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters at 24 Akbar Road and lobbying for tickets, the screening committee should travel to the states. The screening committees have now divided the Assembly segments and are conducting extensive surveys. The AICC secretaries handling state affairs are also assisting the team in ground work.

The Congress’ units in all three states have already taken views of booth-level committees, block and district committees. Different lists have been drawn. The screening committees would then travel across Assembly segments and prepare their own recommendations. These would then be tallied with the other lists and then a final panel of candidates would be prepared for the central election authority of the party. A senior Congress functionary, who did not wish to be identified, told ET, “This change in tact becomes an essential component in fighting an election. Any candidate would waste a lot of time camping in Delhi while the tickets were being finalised. With just two months to go for elections, every wasted day counts. By bringing this exercise to the states, we have streamlined the entire process.”

The screening committee for Rajasthan is headed by former union minister Kumari Selja and has as its members Lalitesh Tripathi and Shakir Sanadi. Party leader Madhushudan Mistry heads the screening committee for Madhya Pradesh, which has Netta D'Souza and Ajay Kumar Lallu as members. The screening committee for Chhattisgarh is headed by former Assam Congress chief Bhubaneswar Kalita and comprises Rohit Choudhary and Ashvinbhai Kotwal as members. Source: The ET, By Nidhi Sharma