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Congress to study possible candidates, thrice over

india Updated: Aug 03, 2006 01:17 IST

THE CONGRESS is depending on three different sources, while deciding the list of prospective candidates for the coming Vidhan Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh.

Besides the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC), the zonal in-charges too are giving final touches to a list of candidates. The Congress high command too is collecting information from independent channels.

At this point, when preparations have been stepped up for the Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s rally at Kanpur on August 8, Congressmen are also keeping a watch on the lists of Congress’ probable candidates for the poll. As this is for the first time that the UPCC proposes to finalise the list of candidates well in advance, senior party leaders remain apprehensive about the move.

There has been strong opposition from a section of Congressmen over the manner in which the UPCC is conducting the entire exercise. This became evident when the UPCC’s committee headed by party leader Imtiaz Ahmad began visiting different districts. According to sources, the visit of the committee clashed with the programme of senior party leader to Allahabad. So the district party leaders requested the zonal in-charge to defer his tour. Some other leaders too felt offended over the manner in which the committee decided to select names in their respective districts.

As the issue assumed serious dimensions, it was brought to the notice of Congress President Sonia Gandhi recently. Talking to Hindustan Times Imtiaz Ahmad, however, denied any differences with party leaders over the issue.

Ahmad said the issue was resolved amicably at Allahabad. “We have worked hard and studied the prevailing situation on each every seat before short listing the names of candidates there,” said Imtiaz Ahmad.

So who are the Congress’ likely candidates for the 403 seats? As far as reservations against the short listed panel are concerned, the Congress has been able to keep this an open secret. Besides tracing the political history, caste combinations and the political alignments of voters etc. the Congress has also taken care of the likely candidates of other political parties in each and every constituency. All facts would be on record when the party high command will take a decision on the Congress tickets to be given, said Imtiaz Ahmad.

Asked to comment, UPCC chief Salman Khurshid said there were no differences on any issue. The Congress high command would scrutinise the three separate lists before taking any decision on the candidates, he said adding he would submit the panel of candidates for 200 Vidhan Sabha seats to the party high command in a day or two.

Significantly, the Congress is not the first party to finalise the list of candidates.

The Bahujan Samaj Party has already announced names of candidates for more than 200 seats. The Bharatiya Janata Party too has given final touches to the list of candidates on 200 seats. The Samajwadi Party though has not announced any names it has already tipped the party’s probable candidates to begin preparations.