CHANDIGARH: In a significant departure from the past practice of giving a one-line authorisation to the party president, the Punjab Congress will send a complete list of shortlisted candidates for the thirteen seats from the state to Rahul Gandhi for final selection.
This was decided here at a meeting of the Election Committee for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls here today.
The decision, which marks a new openness and stronger democratic systems in the party under the dynamic leadership of Rahul, comes in response to the party president’s suggestion that the state unit
should send in the names of proposed candidates instead of merely authorising the high command to take a decision.
Referring to the suggestion, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Sunil Jakhar mooted a proposal at the meeting to accept the same and move forward accordingly. The aim, he said, was to make Rahul as the Prime Minister, for which winnable candidates needed to be put forth from all the constituencies.
The objective was to ensure that Congress won and formed the government at the Centre, said Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, urging all members to rise above personal relations and concerns to select only winnable candidates.
Amarinder made it clear that he was not in favour of any alliance, suggesting that only Congress members/workers should be fielded in these polls, which were patently pitched in favour of the party.
With three Akali Dals and two AAPs in the fray, the situation was clearly balanced in favour of the Congress, quipped Amarinder, calling for adequate representation to all castes and religions through
systemic social engineering.
AICC secretary in-charge of Punjab Affairs, Asha Kumari said a total of 180 applications had been received for 13 seats.
Rahul wanted the shortlisted candidates’ names to be shared with him, as per
the procedure adopted by the party in Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, she said. Asha suggested that the list of applicants be circulated to all members, who can tick their choices and also add their own suggestions on possible candidates.
Given the criticality of these elections for the Congress and the country, it was important for the party to win all the 13 seats in Punjab, said Asha, underlining the need to have winnability as the main criteria for selection of candidates.
The meeting accepted the suggestion and decided that the names of the applicants be
circulated among the Election Committee, from where the shortlisted names would go to the Screening Committee, which would send the same to the central election committee.
Members would be allowed to give preferential numbering also, as decided at the meeting.
It was further decided at the meeting that there would be no bar on sitting MLAs from contesting these polls, though it was clarified that the same should be considered only as an exceptional case.