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In fight against BJP, Congress scouts for candidates in 200 Lok Sabha seats 

Gearing up for the battle for 2019 national polls, Rahul Gandhi has started scouting for the right candidates in around 200 Lok Sabha seats in states where the Congress will be locked in a direct fig

Published: 29th April 2018 10:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th April 2018 11:23 AM   |  A+A-

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Image for representational purpose (File photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI: Gearing up for the battle for 2019 national polls, Rahul Gandhi has started scouting for the right candidates in around 200 Lok Sabha seats in states where the Congress will be locked in a direct fight against the BJP.The plan excludes the states where the party will have to work out a seat-sharing arrangement with regional players as part of the larger plan to defeat the BJP.“The idea is to identify the potential candidates in seats where the fight is between the Congress and the BJP,” a party strategist told The Sunday Standard.

Noting that observers have been deployed to get a feedback on the candidates for these seats, the sources said the identified candidates will be quietly alerted in advance so that they can work on the ground.
A similar exercise had been carried out before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls by the Congress, which came crashing down to just 44 seats from 206 it had in 2009. The game has changed now and the party needs new strategies to take on the BJP, said the sources. 

“With Rahul as the party chief, a lot of weightage would be given to what the local workers have to say about the potential candidates. This is being done through several technology-aided platforms so that Rahul has direct access to inputs,” said a senior All India Congress Committee (AICC) functionary.
According to party sources, the states which fall under the plan include Karnataka, which has 28 Lok Sabha seats, Gujarat (26), Madhya Pradesh (29), Rajasthan (25), Chhattisgarh (11), Uttarakhand (5), Himachal Pradesh (4), Assam (14), Punjab (13), Goa (2), Haryana (10) and Arunachal Pradesh (2).

Party managers have also bracketed Andhra Pradesh (25 seats) and Telangana (17), where it will be locked majorly against TDP and TRS, respectively, other than BJP.Noting that a final view on the alliance issue was still at some distance, party insiders said the plan had left out states like Uttar Pradesh, which has 80 Lok Sabha seats, Bihar (40), West Bengal (42), Maharashtra (46) and Tamil Nadu (39), where the Congress will have to negotiate hard with parties like Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Trinamool Congress, Left parties, Nationalist Congress Party and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

Congress insiders said they have made an early start as the ruling BJP may advance the next national polls along with the assembly elections scheduled in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh in November-December this year.“This may happen irrespective of what happens in Karnataka next month as the BJP is facing the heat in the three Hindi-speaking states. Its allies, too, are not happy. We must be ready,” said an AICC general secretary. 



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