Four senior Congress leaders who lost the November assembly polls in Chhattisgarh have been lobbying hard to bag tickets for the upcoming Lok Sabha election and have received a positive response from the party high command, say sources.
State party chief Dhanendra Sahu, working president Satyanarayan Sharma, former leader of opposition Mahendra Karma and former deputy leader of opposition Bhupesh Baghel -- all of whom lost the assembly elections -- have sought tickets for the parliament election.
"These leaders approached the party high command for tickets through national general secretary V. Narayanasamy and have been told that the party wants them to contest the Lok Sabha poll," a senior part leader told IANS on condition of anonymity.
But local Congress workers are against the move, saying that if the four leaders are allowed to contest the national election, the party's support base in the state will be further eroded. Chhattisgarh was a Congress citadel till 2003, when the party lost to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the assembly poll.
"The Congress suffered the worst ever defeat in 2004 (in the Lok Sabha poll) with just one seat going to the party out of 11. It failed to make a comeback in 2008 (assembly poll) as well. If genuine candidates are sidelined to make way for those who lost in the assembly polls, then the party will suffer again in this year's general election," said a local leader of the party on condition of anonymity.