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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

"Not just youth, winnability a key factor in picking candidates"

Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times   February 22, 2014
First Published: 12:39 IST(22/2/2014) | Last Updated: 12:46 IST(22/2/2014)

Q&A: Madhusudan Mistry, Congress general secretary

In the Congress circle, this former Lok Sabha MP has emerged as the key force in Rahul Gandhi's team. During the past few years, he has toured the country as Gandhi's representative to implement the new selection process. In an interview to Saubhadra Chatterji, Mistry says that the final list will reflect a collective choice of party brass.

You are seen as the main points-man for Rahul Gandhi in the selection of party candidates for the 2014 polls. How is the process different from the previous selection process?

We developed our own way of short-listing candidates. We sent our own people as special observers and collected constituency-wise information across the country.  We have also done separate internal assessments in each of the seats and submitted to the different chairpersons of the screening committees. We have asked these panels to take these assessments and surveys into account while suggesting candidates to the Central Election Committee (CEC).

Are you looking for more young candidates this time?

Yes. We want to project more young candidates because our assessment says that voters want to see fresh faces. But finally, winnability will be the biggest consideration. There are reports that the Congress is mulling a formula "50 below 50" to give 50% tickets to people below 50 years. By and large, there will be a transition towards younger list of candidates. But as I said, the key factor will be the ability of the candidate to win the election.

When will you come up with list of candidate?

I can't tell you the date but the announcement will come very soon. And most likely it will be done in 2-3 phases.

So, we will see a Rahul Gandhi imprint in the list?

No. the central election committee will decide the final list. It will be a collective decision.


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