iconimg Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, January 10, 2014
Rahul Gandhi on Friday promised early declaration of candidates for Lok Sabha polls under a "new process" reflecting the "voice of people" in Congress. "We are taking the decision about giving tickets in a new way, under a new process. "Discussions on it about various states have been taking place within our party for a long time. We are doing this with a formal structure," the Congress Vice President told reporters before holding consultations with newly-appointed Chairman of Screening Committees for all states and UTs.

He said all tickets will be finalised at the national level "very soon for first time as far as deadline is concerned".

"The thinking is that we bring a process and system in the party and bring in the voice of people in the political party systematically. That is why this meeting is there," he added.

In a major exercise ahead of Lok Sabha polls, Congress had last night constituted screening committees for all states and Union Territories for early selection of candidates. In the first meeting of the Chairmen of these screening committees, Gandhi today underlined the importance of giving weightage to common people in decision making in political processes including deciding candidates.

He is learnt to have impressed upon the broad parameters of candidate selection like no criminal record against them and an experience of right kind of politics along with winnability.

Sources in the party had indicated that the meetings of the screening committees to select candidates will begin soon after the January 17 AICC meeting in Delhi, where the party could name Rahul Gandhi as its prime ministerial candidate.

With Rahul keen on early declaration of candidates for Lok Sabha polls, the party is understood to have decided to come out with a list of 150 to 200 nominees by the end of this month.

Lok Sabha elections are likely to be held in April-May and the decision will give at least three months time to the candidates to prepare for the elections.

The exercise is also in line with the recommendation of the A K Antony panel entrusted with the task of drawing up an action plan for the party for assembly and Lok Sabha polls.

It had recommended that the candidates should be declared at least a few months ahead of the elections.