The Central Election Committee (CEC) of the Congress on Wednesday cleared about 140 names for the first three phases of assembly elections in Bihar.
The meeting, chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, finalised the names after discussing threadbare the strengths and weakness of candidates.
Bihar Congress president Mehboob Ali Kaiser, Congress legislature party leader Ashok Ram and former MP Ramdeo Rai are among those whose names figure in the first list to be out in the next two days, party sources said.
The CEC — apex body of the Congress to decide candidates for polls — has given fair representation to all sections of the society. The party has given ticket to 32 Muslims, about 25 women and around 30-35 youth with 10-12 from the Youth Congress. There are about 10 unknown faces in the list as well. As part of the “grand plan” formulated by its general secretary Rahul Gandhi, the party has already decided to go alone in the assembly elections and is fielding candidates in all the 243 constituencies.
Having been out of power in Bihar since 1989 and reduced to a marginal force over the years, the Congress is exploring different strategies and caste equations to emerge as a formidable force. It is reaching out to all the castes and communities to make a comeback.
The party has also kept caste considerations in their minds while selecting the candidates. Caste demographics play a dominant role in Bihar politics.
Though the Congress leaders appear confident about good performance in the polls, they concede that it will be an uphill task for the party to form the government on its own.
A senior Congress leader told HT that winning maximum seats will be the focus but the party is also looking at increasing its vote share to re-launch in a big way in the 2015 state elections.