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Chhattisgarh polls: Cong’s first list to keep all happy

The Congress recast Sonia Gandhi’s decision to end the “quota system” in distribution of tickets by accommodating almost every faction in its first list of 35 candidates.

india Updated: Oct 24, 2008 00:30 IST
Saroj Nagi

The Congress on Thursday recast its president Sonia Gandhi’s decision to end the “quota system” in distribution of tickets by accommodating almost every faction in its first list of 35 candidates. This was done to ensure the party puts up a united fight against the ruling BJP for the 90-member assembly in Chhattisgarh

Former chief minister Ajit Jogi’s imprint is visible with 13 of his nominees featuring in the list — including Uday Madliar, who will contest from Rajnandgaon, the seat held by BJP leader and Chief Minister Raman Singh. AICC treasurer Motilal Vora is not far behind with 10 supporters, including son Arun who lost the last time round. However, most of these candidates are concentrated around the Durg region, his area of influence.

While Jogi was ready to fight against Raman Singh from any constituency, neither he nor Marwai — the assembly seat he held as CM — figure in Thursday’s list. But sources said he would be a candidate, and a claimant for the CM’s slot if the party wins the November 14 and 20 polls in the state. Vora would be another contender for that post.

Sonia reportedly handpicked Geeta Devi Singh to contest from Dongargoan. Her husband was an MP during Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure.

The list includes one nominee said to be close to Union minister Arjun Singh, two loyalists of CLP leader Mahendra Karma and some relatives, including senior leader Arvind Netam’s daughter Priti.

Recently, when quizzed about the quota system in ticket distribution, Congress spokesman Veerappa Moily had said the party would take into consideration the recommendations of leaders. “Leaders are leaders. Due weightage will have to be given to their suggestions in order to win elections,” he had said.

Of the 34 sitting Congress legislators in Chhattisgarh, 10 are on the list. The others, including Jogi’s wife Renu, are expected to figure in subsequent lists. In all, the party intends to drop four sitting MLAs.