Congress` election committee meets to decide Bihar candidates

The Central Election Committee of the Congress headed by party chief Sonia Gandhi met on Friday to finalise the party candidates for the remaining 121 assembly constituencies Bihar Assembly.

Last Updated: Oct 01, 2010, 21:23 PM IST

New Delhi: The Central Election Committee
of the Congress headed by party chief Sonia Gandhi met on Friday
to finalise the party candidates for the remaining 121
assembly constituencies Bihar Assembly.

Congress has so far announced candidates for 122 of
the 243 seats in the state where it is fighting on all the
seats.
Party sources said that names have been finalised for
around 220 seats so far and another meeting of the party`s CEC
is scheduled for October 5 to select the remaining candidates.

The first list of the party had 77 candidates. In the
second list, 46 candidates have been named but as the party
has replaced one candidate, the total figure comes to 122.

Sources said that in the six-phase Bihar elections,
the announcement of candidates is being done a bit early to
give the candidates sufficient time for poll preparation.

A senior party leader said that the list of
campaigners of the party would be submitted to the Election
Commission anytime now though he refused to reveal who would
be the star campaigners.
Sonia Gandhi and AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi
are expected to travel extensively in the state for
campaigning though it has not yet been decided from where the
election campaign would be formally launched.

Eyeing minority votes, the party has given a
significant representation to the Muslims along with the
Backward Castes in the list of 122 candidates so far.

Women and upper castes too have been given fair
representation.

"We are doing a balancing act. All sections have been
represented in the list," a senior party leader said, hinting
that the share of Muslim candidates could be around 20 per
cent in the entire list.

The party, which has nine members in the outgoing
assembly, is hoping to turn around its fortunes and emerge as
a key player post elections.

Asked about the fallout of the Allahabad High Court
judgement on Ayodhya issue, a senior party functionary said
that it would have "no impact" on the elections.

He said, "people have moved away from such issues. The
dispute can no longer divide the people as it did 15-20 years
ago".

Congress, which is fighting the elections on its own,
is pitted against the ruling JD(U)-BJP coalition and the
RJD-LJP combine in the six-phase elections beginning October
21.

PTI