The Congress is set to finalise its tickets on Thursday, following a high level meeting headed by Sonia Gandhi.
Sources said the party would announce its candidates at least on half the 70 assembly constituencies on Thursday. Although panels of names have been sent to the AICC chief Sonia Gandhi, last ditch efforts for omission and commission of names are still on in Delhi. Several ticket seekers are still camping in the national capital to to get their candidature cleared.
According to sources, a high-level meeting of AICC in-charge, Birender Singh, state election screening committee chief Anand Sharma and other office-bearers is likely to be held on Thursday in the presence of the AICC president. But the party symbol to the candidates will not be announced before Sunday. Party sources informed that the Congress leadership had deliberately decided to delay the symbol allotment in order to gauge the level of dissidence and take subsequent steps to counter it.
The Congress' central leadership is of the view that delay in symbol allotment will help prevent dissidence in the party. It will also provide the leadership time to persuade the dissidents to work for the official candidates of the party. This way, the have-nots will not get much time to act as deadline for filing nominations will end on January 12.
Meanwhile, hectic lobbying by the ticket seekers is still on with several hopefuls camping in Delhi for several days at a stretch. The majority of the party leaders had returned to Haldwani for attending Sonia Gandhi's rally but many of them are still lodged in the national capital. This is mainly because the crucial meeting for finalising tickets will be held on Thursday.
The meeting is likely to be held in the presence of Sonia Gandhi. State election screening committee chief Anand Sharma, AICC state in charge Birender Singh and other members of the screening committee will also attend the meeting. Party sources informed that first list of the Congress candidates will include 35 names, majority of them sitting MLAs.