Congress close to finalising candidates for 100 Lok Sabha seats
New Delhi: Congress is close to finalising candidates for 100 Lok Sabha seats after the first meeting of its Central Election Committee tonight, but a decision on the fate of sitting members of the Lower House will be taken only after Parliament session concludes on February 21.
Party leaders said that a number of seats in many states including 20 odd in Uttar Pradesh, several in Bihar, Karnataka, Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh as also in Himachal Pradesh and some northeastern states were taken up for finalisation on Monday.
Refusing to specify as to how many tickets were finalised, they said that discussion took place on over 100 seats on which it had received reports from the Scrutiny Committees from the states concerned.
Party chief Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, party Vice President Rahul Gandhi are among the top leaders who are members of the panel which decides the nominations.
With the alliances in states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand yet to be formalised, the leadership could not take up all the seats for consideration in such states. The party plans to finalise most of the candidates by this month-end.
Party leaders said that the nominations for those seats will be finalised first which are at present not being held by the Congress. The party had won 206 seats in the last Lok Sabha polls.
The issue of tainted leaders is expected to figure in seats like Pune, currently being represented by Suresh Kalmadi, who is facing corruption charges in the organisation of the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Kalmadi, suspended from the party, is apparently trying hard to get a ticket for his wife Meera Kalmadi or any other member of his family.
Former Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal is seeking renomination from Chandigarh. He is insisting that the CBI has "come to the conclusion" that he was not at all involved in a case in which his nephew was caught accepting bribe from a Railway Board Member.
Early finalisation of candidates for elections was a key recommendation of the A K Antony Committee, which Rahul is keen to implement in the coming general elections scheduled to be held in April-May.
Candidate selection process has been fast tracked this time unlike in recent decades in a bid to give at least two months time to the nominees to prepare for the elections.