Cong Panel to Shortlist LS Candidates - The New Indian Express

Cong Panel to Shortlist LS Candidates

Published: 21st January 2014 12:02 PM

Last Updated: 21st January 2014 12:02 PM

The Pradesh Election Committee (PEC) of the  Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) will meet here on January 24 to prepare a list of Lok Sabha candidates in view of the party’s decision to announce the names much before the polls in April/May, 2014.

The probable list prepared by the PEC will be submitted to the All India Congress Committee (AICC) on January 25.

Young and new candidates will be preferred by the party for the Lok Sabha seats and winnability will be the only criteria, president of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Jaydev Jena said.

The first phase of Lok Sabha candidates will be announced by the AICC on February 7.

Having outlined its roadmap for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections at the just concluded AICC meeting, the party has asked the State unit to recommend the names of possible candidates for the 21 Lok Sabha constituencies.

The recommended list of names will be screened by the screening committee headed by Oscar Fernandes, who has been made Chairman for the panel in Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, before it will be placed for the final approval of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, party sources said.

The screening committee will have five members including AICC general secretary in-charge of the State, OPCC chief and CLP leader and one more member.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s close aide Meenakshi Natarajan has been included as member for the panel in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha.

Since Lok Sabha elections are likely to be held in April-May, announcement of the names in February first week will give at least two months time to the candidates to prepare for the elections.

The OPCC chief, the leader of the opposition Bhupinder Singh, Union Minister Srikant Jena, former chief minister Giridhar Gamang, former union minister Bhakta Charan Das, Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra,  Prasad Harichandan, Pradip Majhi, Niranjan Patnaik and several other senior leaders are members of the PEC, which has 13 members and five special invitees.

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