At a time when senior Congress leaders are shying away from contesting the April 24 Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu and despite a lack of enthusiasm among cadres, there is a race to get tickets to contest from select constituencies perceived as "winnable", party sources said.
Leading the bandwagon of serious contenders for the few star seats is H Vasanthakumar, former MLA and brother of former Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President Kumari Ananthan for the Kanyakumari seat.
He will face a tough contest from Robert Bruce, who has the support of former TNCC president K V Thangkabalu.
The southernmost Parliamentary seat has a strong support base for both the national parties, Congress and BJP.
In Chidambaram, there is a race between Maniratnam and Vallalperumal. While the former is a loyalist of Union Minister G K Vasan, the latter has the support of P Chidambaram's followers.
Similarly, in Villupuram, the battle lines are drawn between Rani, a follower of Vasan and Selvaperunthagai, a Chidambaram loyalist.
Interestingly, Youth Congress functionaries are pitted against aspirants from other party wings in certain seats for tickets. For instance, R N Amirtha Raja, a Nagapattinam (Reserved) YC President who has bagged party awards for best performance, is witnessing stiff resistance from Senthil Pandian, a Vasan follower.
Vijaya Ilanchezhian is another Youth Congress functionary who is fighting it out to get the Vellore seat.
Jothimani, a prominent woman youth Congress functionary, now in Mahila Congress, is fighting to get Karur seat.