Congress panel fails to agree on probable candidates for Delhi

Congress` Election Committee on Monday failed to finalise a list of probable candidates for Delhi assembly polls following differences among members and left it to the AICC screening panel to shortlist the ticket aspirants.

New Delhi: Congress` Election Committee on Monday failed to finalise a list of probable candidates for Delhi assembly polls following differences among members and left it to the AICC screening panel to shortlist the ticket aspirants.

Sources in the party said Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit favoured giving tickets to all sitting MLAs barring those facing criminal charges but some Election Committee members opposed her views arguing that it will defeat Rahul Gandhi`s call for giving voice to grass root workers in selection of candidates.

They said the Election Committee has broadly agreed to give tickets to some sitting MLAs who have "performed well" and are likely to win in the polls.

The 27-member Election Committee, after a lengthy deliberation, decided to task Dikshit and DPCC chief J P Agarwal to prune the list of ticket aspirants before the scheduled meeting of the AICC Screening Committee on October 17.

Around 1,600 Congress men have applied for tickets. In its last meeting on Saturday, the Election Committee had decided not to give tickets to those facing serious criminal charges.

"Today`s meeting decided to leave the selection guidelines for the Screening Committee," said a member of the Election Committee.

"Three-four MLAs facing criminal cases may not be considered for tickets," he said, adding Dikshit and Agarwal will finalise a panel of three candidates for all the seats where the party was defeated in the last assembly polls.

Names of MLAs like Dayanand Chandela (Rajouri Garden), Tarvinder Singh Marwah (Jangpura), Devinder Yadav (Badli) and Asif Mohd (Okhla) were raised by panel members citing records showing criminal cases against them.

Sources said a section of the Election Committee was opposed to giving tickets to Ministers Kiran Walia from Malviya Nagar and Ramakant Goswami from Rajinder Nagar saying they will be "weak" candidates.

Asked about the selection process of candidates, AICC general secretary in-charge of Delhi Shakeel Ahmed said "Winnability is the main criteria for finalising the candidates."

The list of the ticket aspirants will be sent to the AICC Screening Committee in two-three days after Dikshit and Agarwal prune the list.

The AICC Screening Committee is headed by V Narayanasamy while other members of the panel include Bhubaneshwar Kalita, Shakeel Ahmed, J P Agarwal, Dikshit and Kuldip Nagra.

The Screening Committee will send its recommendation to the Central Election Committee headed by party President Sonia Gandhi.

Ahmed, AICC secretary in- charge for Delhi Nagra, Agarwal and Diskhit were among others who attended today`s Election Committee meeting.

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