With assembly polls in five states fast approaching, Congress ticket aspirants have decided to form pressure groups to prevent other parties’ rebel leaders from contesting on the 130-year-old party’s nomination.
Armed with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s 2013 Jaipur speech, a number of young ticket aspirants have started lobbying for party ticket.
In his first speech as party vice-president, Gandhi promised that he would address the issue of anomalies in ticket distribution. He had vowed to bring an end to the practise of leaders from other parties ‘parachuting’ just before the elections and ‘flying away’ after getting defeated. He also maintained that no person with a criminal background will be given party ticket.
Subsequently, the Congress also issued guidelines stating that those who had lost two consecutive polls, those defeated in the last election by a margin of 15,000 votes or more and those who forfeited their deposits will not be considered for the party ticket.
However, these norms have often been violated in the garb of a ‘winnability factor’.
Former Punjab Congress chief, Partap Singh Bajwa, last week reminded the party of the Jaipur resolution that called for a three-year cooling period for new entrants. Bajwa had insisted that turncoats from the Akali Dal, Aam Aadmi Party or the BJP should not be given the party ticket at the cost of Congress loyalists who have worked hard for the past decade or two.
For the upcoming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur, the Congress is likely to drop several sitting legislators and field fresh faces. The party is unlikely to field more than one candidate from a political family or allow sitting legislators to shift their constituencies apprehending defeat.
For Goa, Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh has suggested that fresh faces should be preferred given that some sitting legislators have “drifted away” from the party agenda.