The Central Election Committee of the Congress headed by party chief Sonia Gandhi met on Wednesday to finalise candidates for 78 Assembly constituencies in Bihar which is going to polls.
The party has already announced names of candidates for 165 seats --- 77 in the first list, 46 in second list and 42 in the third list.
Congress, which is going it alone in the Assembly polls in the state, will be contesting all the 243 assembly seats in the six-phase elections beginning in the state on October 21 and concluding on November 20.
Party sources said that names have already been finalised for around 220 seats so far, while the rest 23 were finalised in today's meeting, which was attended by Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh among others.
A senior party leader said that the names of other candidates will be announced in quick succession.
"The announcement of candidates is being done a bit early to give the candidates sufficient time for poll preparation," he said.
Sources said that a list of campaigners of the party was also discussed in the CEC meeting today. Sonia Gandhi and AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi are expected to travel extensively in the state for campaigning though it has not yet been decided from where the election campaign would be formally launched. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will also be addressing a number of rallies in the state.
Rahul Gandhi had visited the state early this year to prepare the ground for the organisational elections for the Indian Youth Congress. Since then, elections have been held and two representatives each from the panchayat, Assembly and Lok Sabha segment wise have been chosen for the IYC. Some of these elected representatives have also been fielded for the election.
Eyeing minority votes, the party has given a significant representation to the Muslims along with the Backward Castes in the list of 163 candidates so far.
Women and upper castes too have been given fair representation.
The party, which has nine members in the outgoing assembly, is hoping to turn around its fortunes and emerge as a key player post elections.
"We are giving the best available candidates in all the seats. We are contesting on all seats in the state after a gap of 20 years. So there is tremendous enthusiasm among the workers," AICC general secretary B K Hariprasad said.
He also downplayed the recent incidents of some partymen in the state opposing ticket distribution in few seats.
"There are large number of ticket seekers and all cannot be given tickets. Everybody wants to contest election in the state as the mood is in favour of Congress. Hence such things are natural," he said.