Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Friday directed party leaders of five election-bound states to keep candidates with criminal background out and ensure that blocks have a say in their selection.
Rahul, who met AICC general secretary secretaries in-charge and the chairmen of the screening committees for Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram, discussed the party strategy for the Assembly polls in these states which are due this year.
Sources said that Rahul told the leaders to ensure the party does not give tickets to people, who have proven criminal background and against whom the courts have already passed strictures.
His emphasis on denying tickets to those with criminal background assumes significance as it comes in the wake of recent court orders aimed at stopping criminalisation of politics, some of which have created quite a stir among the political parties.
He also told the leaders that it was important that the block Congress in all these states have a larger say in the selection of candidates as they are more related to their MLAs and know more about them.
Rahul's emphasis on taking the ticket distribution during elections at the grass roots is not new. He has been maintaining in the party meetings that candidates should not be decided from Delhi or the state headquarters but that the decision-making should percolate down.
Sources said that the meeting discussed the "process, procedure, general guidelines and deadline issue" for various activities that take place during the elections.
AICC general secretary in-charge for Delhi Shakeel Ahmed could not attend the meeting as he was was abroad but all others including BK Hariprasad (Chhattisgarh), Mohan Prakash (Madhya Pradesh), Gurudas Kamath (Rajasthan) and Luizinho Falerio (Mizoram) attended it.
C P Joshi, who is the in-charge of the screening committee for Chhattisgarh, V Narayanasamy for Delhi, Ajay Maken for Rajasthan and Madhusudan Mistri for Madhya Pradesh were also in the meeting along with all members the screening committees and AICC secretaries in-charges of the states.