A red-faced Congress had to revise its screening committee for the Jammu and Kashmir assembly elections after being informed about the recent death of one of the five leaders — tasked with the onerous responsibility of selecting candidates.
The J-K Congress lost a prominent face in Choudhary Mohammad Aslam’s death on June 16. A former Speaker and minister in the state, Aslam represented the Surankote constituency in the assembly and was leader of the Congress legislature party (CLP).
“How could leaders in Delhi not even know he had died? Or forget his death so soon? He was a senior leader,” a J-K Congress leader said, pointing out that Aslam had also previously led the state Congress.
The Congress corrected its mistake which was spotted after the screening committee on Friday circulated the party candidates for election-bound states of Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Haryana and J-K.
However, instead of nominating another party leader, the fresh list replaced Aslam with ‘CLP Leader of J-K Assembly’ while the position has been vacant since Aslam’s death.
“Clearly central party managers and functionaries involved in selecting the panels are not in touch with reality... This is a big embarrassment for the party and the leadership,” said a Congress leader.
According to the lists, Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge will head the panel for Maharashtra, while party vice president Rahul Gandhi’s close associate Jitendra Singh has been appointed the chairman of screening committee for Jharkhand. Senior leader PC Chacko will head the panel for Haryana while party general secretary Ajay Maken is the chairman of the J&K screening committee. Other Rahul aides, including Suraj Hegde and Manicka Tagore, have also found place in these panels.