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Winnability, caste must for Cong ticket

With three months remaining for the assembly elections in Bihar, the Congress has initiated the process of identifying “suitable” candidates for the state’s 243 constituencies.

delhi Updated: Aug 01, 2010 23:47 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi

With three months remaining for the assembly elections in Bihar, the Congress has initiated the process of identifying “suitable” candidates for the state’s 243 constituencies.

As part of the plan, the party will in the initial stage select two candidates from a constituency based on their “winnability” and caste factors.

It will then review their performance and finally give the ticket to the one who they think would get about 25,000 votes.

“Our main criteria will be to give the ticket to a candidate who is not only confident but sure of getting 25,000 votes. We will not be asking the probable candidates if they are sure of winning a seat,” a senior Congress functionary said.

But as caste demographics play a vital role in the state, the party managers too will keep that factor in their minds.

“Caste will be the deciding factor in selection of candidates. On most constituencies, a candidate will be from the majority caste,” the leader said.

The main focus of the party is to increase its vote share in the state where it has been out of power since 1989. As part of its “grand plan” formulated by general secretary Rahul Gandhi, the party has already decided to go it alone in the polls.

Though they appear confident, Congress leaders admit that it would be an uphill task for the party to form the government on its own.

“The signs for the coming elections are encouraging... But we also know forming the government will be a tough ask. So, our focus is to emerge as the party that will hold the key to government formation in the state,” another leader said.

The Congress is hoping to win about 30-50 seats. “Anything above that will be a bonus,” the leader said.

Another strategy is to make the contest triangular instead of a straight fight between the Janata Dal (U)-BJP alliance and the Rashtriya Janata Dal-Lok Janshakti Party combine.

With JD(U) leaders crossing over to its side, the party is confident of making some “significant dents” in the ruling party.

The party is also buoyed by the overtures from Lok Sabha MP Rajiv Ranjan (Lallan) Singh who has dared the JD(U) to expel him from the party.

But, his party is in no mood to oblige him as the move would give the upper-caste leader the the freedom to join any other party — in this case the Congress.