In a change of strategy for the upcoming assembly elections, Congress has decided to wait for rival BJP to release its list of candidates first before going public with its contestants.
The move is aimed at quelling any rebellion or desertions within its state units. The party faced a revolt in Chhattisgarh after the release of its first list of 17 candidates for the 90-member assembly on October 11.
The BJP apparently offered tickets to Congress aspirants who didn’t make it to the first list. Some rejected contenders have also threatened to jump into the fray as independents.
This prompted the Congress to withhold its second list for almost 10 days and it released the names of 45 contestants on October 21. Polling will be held in two phases in Chhattisgarh on November 11 and 19.
Fearing a revolt within its ranks, the party is likely to keep its list under wraps till the end in Delhi, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh too. While Madhya Pradesh goes to polls on November 25, elections will be held in Rajasthan on December 1 and in Delhi on December 4.
Contrary to earlier indications that the Congress could announce its candidates well ahead of the election date, party sources categorically ruled out early declaration of its lists in these states.
“We will wait for BJP to release its lists first. Also, Rahul Gandhi is addressing rallies at different places in these states in the coming days. Let these meetings also get over,” a senior functionary said.
In the past, rebels had hurt the party prospects in many states. The Congress suffered a shock defeat at the hands of the Shiromani Akali Dal in March 2012 elections in Punjab largely due to the rebel factor. Though on a weak wicket, the Akali Dal created history by returning to power in the state that had thrown out the incumbent government in all previous elections.