After taking over as vice president of the party, Rahul Gandhi, in one of his first orders to Maharashtra Congress, has debarred candidates who have lost two consecutive polls from getting a third opportunity.
Rahul has written to state Congress president Manikrao Thakre and Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to ensure that names of such candidates do not creep into the list of aspiring candidates for the Assembly and Parliamentary polls likely to be held in 2014. His order comes in the wake of a report submitted by central observers of the Congress, led by General Secretary Madhusudan Mistry last month, to the party high command. The report, among other things, gave a list of 25 candidates from Assembly polls and three from Parliamentary polls who had lost twice, and recommended that the central leadership consider a search for fresh faces for the 2014 polls.
The three who have lost two consecutive Lok Sabha elections are Naresh Pugalia, defeated in 2004 and 2009 from Chandrapur constituency, Uttamsingh Pawar, who lost from Jalna in 2004 and from Aurangabad in 2009, and Dr Ulhas Patil, who contested in 1999 and 2004 from Jalgaon. To name a few from the Assembly segments: Manoj Shinde, Alka Awlaskar from Kalyan and R B Singh from Kalyan East.
This policy was first practised by the party in the 2012 Gujarat Assembly polls, which resulted in the exit of several leaders, including former deputy CM Narhari Amin.