HYDERABAD: It will be a show of ‘winning horses’ for the Congress in the upcoming elections. The marathon meetings held by AICC president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi on Friday with TPCC members have hinted that the grand old party will play its cards safe and also leave several aspiring candidates unhappy. The Congress president also sent a clear message to his party leaders: don’t give up those seats (to other parties in the Mahagathbandhan) that the Congress is sure to win.
The Gandhi scion, after a three-hour meeting, specified to the TPCC leaders that “only winning horses will be fielded in the coming elections and tickets would be given only to such candidates.” He, however, favoured a balanced approach to doing business with the grand alliance. He insisted that the TPCC take only those decisions that would not damage the party’s prospects in the elections.
The party has appointed a three-member screening committee to deal with selection of candidates and campaigning. The committee consists of Bhakta Charan Das, former MP from Orissa, besides Jothimani Sennimalai and Sharmistha Mukherjee.
“Rahul Gandhi, in principle, okayed alliance formation but asked us to carefully deal with the seats which the Congress is sure of winning,” TPCC chief N Uttam Kumar Reddy told reporters later. The 40-member delegation held meetings in groups and individually with Rahul Gandhi. In one such meeting, the Komatireddy brothers advised Gandhi to give party ticket only to party loyalists.
Seat-sharing between the Congress and Telangana TDP also came up for discussion. Uttam pitched for a 70:30 seat-sharing ratio with Congress getting major share. With the ball now in the screening committee court, aspiring candidates are in a dilemma whether to shift loyalties or contest as independent candidates in the event of being denied party ticket.