Eye on UP battle, Congress forms screening committee headed by Jitendra Singh
Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday constituted the party’s screening committee for the upcoming high-stakes assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh next year. Jitendra Singh has been named as the chairman of the committee, while Rajya Sabha MP Deepender Singh Hooda and Maharashtra MLA Varsha Gaikwad have been chosen as its members.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, state unit president Ajay Kumar Lallu and legislature party leader in state Aradna Misra have been appointed as ex-officio members of the screening committee. The ex-officio members also comprise all AICC secretaries for Uttar Pradesh.
The committee will be responsible for shortlisting candidates for the elections. The Congress is eyeing to make a comeback in Uttar Pradesh after over three decades and is gearing up to contest the next year’s election without forming any alliance. In the 2017 polls, the Congress secured only seven of the 403 Assembly seats having joined hands with the Samajwadi Party (SP).
Last week, the Congress had invited applications from prospective candidates and days later, the party’s Uttar Pradesh unit asked those seeking tickets for next year’s election to deposit ₹11,000 with their applications.
“All applicants should submit their applications with the authorised persons at the district/state level along with a ‘sahyog rashi (contribution amount)’ of ₹11,000 by September 25, 2021,” an order issued by Lallu read. The party said this step was taken to keep away candidates who were not serious about the election.
On Wednesday, the Congress started the second phase of its training programme, titled ‘Prashikshan Se Parakram Mahaabhiyan’, to train party workers. According to a PTI report, 100 camps will be organised to make 30,000 workers battle-ready ahead of the crucial election. The programme will continue till the end of September.
During the first phase of the campaign, continuing for 11 days, the party trained 25,000 of its workers.