These exercises are aimed at nominating the candidates most likely to win polls for the party, a senior leader said.There was speculation that delay in announcing names has been caused due to differences between Ashok Gehlot and AICC general secretary CP Joshi, who is being viewed as a parallel power centre in Rajasthan. But such speculation has subsided after the two lists showed names of candidates loyal to both the leaders.
The Congress has added 18 new faces including Commonwealth Games gold medalist Krishna Poonia. Tickets have been denied to seven sitting MLAs including a minister, Raj Kumar Sharma, and given to 62 sitting MLAs and 16 others who had contested the last assembly polls unsuccessfully. Dejected, Sharma has announced he will contest polls independently.
The first list announced on November 2 has chief minister Ashok Gehlot, 18 ministers of his cabinet, 27 MLAs, two parliamentary secretaries, eight MLAs who lost the last polls and six new faces — Krishna Poonia, Jagdish Jandu, Bhanwar Singh Bhati, Urmila Jogi, Mahant Nirmal Das and Chatri Bai Seharia.
The party has tried to make the list inclusive. After long deliberations, the second list of 42 candidates was announced on Wednesday. It includes party spokesperson Archana Sharma, who will face BJP stalwart Kali Charan Saraf, and former minister Bhanwar Lal Sharma.