Rahul’s ‘spies’ on mission 2014 to snoop on Congress MPs
By J R Prasad | ENS | Published: 19th November 2012 08:42 AM |
If Congress leaders are to be trusted, Rahul Gandhi, who is heading the Congress Election Coordination Committee, has already started ‘secret missions’ to select Lok Sabha candidates for the next General Election slated for 2014, or even before.
He is following in the footsteps of his father Rajiv Gandhi and uncle Sanjay, giving Congress MPs a flashback of those same anxieties. Rajiv used to send his trusted lieutenants to various States to vet the personal and political resumes of prospective candidates. Even for Assembly elections in various States such as Uttar Pradesh, Rajiv used to send secret observers to gather data on the performance of Congress candidates and ministers.
Earlier, for the 1980 Lok Sabha polls, Sanjay Gandhi had personally chosen about 25 per cent of young MPs such as Kamal Nath, Jagdish Tytler and Ramchandra Rath, who went on to play a vital role in Congress politics.
Rahul is following a trusted family tradition to choose the party’s representatives at the hustings. Nobody is exempt from the exercise, including Rahul himself and his mother, Congress president Sonia Gandhi; sources said Rahul’s “spies” will collect feedback on the performance of Congress MPs from Rae Bareli and Amethi too.
A source close to Rahul said it is natural for him to undertake such an exercise. “That is how he works. He always prefers to work with detailed reports from the ground. He has his own approach for which he gets independent inputs.”
AICC general secretary and Gujarat MP Madhusudan Mistry is in charge of this exercise. He has been nominated to the five-man Election Coordination Committee. Rahul, along with Mistry, has handpicked a 50-member team to individually assess the performance of party MPs in constituencies allotted to them.
Young MLAs and MLCs inducted into the team are designated ‘facilitators’. Their names are top secret, known only to PCC chiefs of the State assigned to each. The constituency allotted to each facilitator is also a secret—the incumbent MP, if not renominated, will never know who scuppered his chances. Apart from reviewing each MP’s accomplishments, the performance inspector will gather information on other ticket aspirants as well and suggest to the AICC three probables in order of priority.
In Lok Sabha constituencies represented by the Opposition, the facilitator is required to prepare a list of probable candidates, with ‘winnability’ as the main criterion. Each team member has been assigned 10 to 11 constituencies, depending on the size of the electorate.