The Congress will not project any chief ministerial candidate in the forthcoming assembly elections in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh as well as in Jammu and Kashmir, Mizoram and Congress-ruled Delhi.
The party believes that such projections take away the MLAs right to choose their own leader after the polls. Besides this, non-projection, it feels, would also help it contain poll time sabotage, factionalism and infighting while ensuring support from different communities that may not be possible if the projected leader is seen to represent a particular section. It would also help dilute anti-incumbency against the party in states like Delhi.
The issue of naming a CM candidate has been a matter of debate in the party since it was felt that the failure to do so was also the contributory factors for the party's defeat in the Gujarat and Karnataka polls where the rivals had given the voters a clear choice.
The decision against naming a CM nominee is reportedly in line with the recommendations of the Antony committee report on reenergizing the party for the polls.
But while not projecting a CM nominee, sources said the party may not—unlike in Punjab— keep the nodal point of the campaign in doubt. For instance, in Rajasthan former chief minister Ashok Gehlot is seen as a clear winner. But there are apprehensions that if he is projected the jats may move away from the party. Likewise, if a Meena is projected the gujjars may shift their vote.
But in J&K, former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad will have to share the campaign with PCC chief Saifuddin Soz and other leaders after the Amarnath controversy took a toll on the party's prospects in J-K.
In Delhi, Sheila Dixit, may not be the automatic choice for the post as CM.