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Rahul's idea of 'primaries' is powerful: Ajay Maken

india Updated: Feb 02, 2014 18:26 IST
Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi's experiment of choosing Congress candidates for Lok Sabha polls in over 15 seats with direct feedback on the lines of US primaries will continue notwithstanding initial hiccups, a Congress leader Ajay Maken said on Sunday.

Under the 'primaries' scheme, party workers and office bearers, who satisfy certain criteria from these Lok Sabha constituencies will decide Congress candidates by participating in a simple voting process.

All India Congress Committee communication department chairman Maken also downplayed the recent decision by the party to drop two such constituencies, Chandni Chowk and North West Delhi, represented by Union ministers Kapil Sibal and Krishna Tirath respectively from the list of primaries after their reservations.

The ministers are learnt to have conveyed their reservations over this point to top leadership, wondering as to why their constituencies were only picked up among the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi.

Read: Rahul Gandhi should stick to running the Congress party

He insisted that the new process is in line with the Congress vice-president's focus on opening the system by "ending the high command culture" and empowering the grass-root workers

Maken said the process would continue as it is part of the long-terms plan to bring sweeping changes in ticket distribution and other processes in the party.

The party has on a number of occasions made it clear that the changes put on hold till this Lok Sabha election will be carried out full throttle once the election exercise is over.

"Rahulji's idea of choosing candidates through primaries is in line with his focus on opening the system. He wants to put an end to the high command culture in the party in decision making.

"After giving the power to ordinary workers to elect their officer bearers as was done in NSUI and Youth Congress, he wants office-bearers to be empowered and have a say in candidate selection."

"Gandhi has said this is a pilot project, which he wishes to extend in the whole country at a later stage. This is a powerful idea," Maken said.

He said the Congress vice-president thinks while transparency cannot be brought in government functioning till Congress workers do not have a say in electing their candidates.