Agartala/Guwahati: The Congress has begun the process of selecting candidates in the northeastern states for the upcoming parliamentary polls, party sources said Thursday.
The Election Commission is all set to hold Lok Sabha elections starting mid-April and the polls are likely to be in five or six phases, lasting till early May.
There are 25 Lok Sabha seats in the eight northeastern states. Assam alone has 14 seats, followed by Tripura, Meghalaya, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh with two seats each and Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim one each.
"For 14 Lok Sabha seats in Assam, in all 138 candidates have applied for party tickets. The party`s state election committee would soon select the candidates and propose their names to central leaders for their approval," a Congress spokesman told reporters in Guwahati.
The aspirants for the 14 Lok Sabha seats in Assam include Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi`s son Gourav Gogoi, central ministers Paban Singh Ghatowar, Ranee Narah, former union minister Santosh Mohan Deb`s daughter Sushmita Deb and former chief minister Gopinath Bordoloi`s son Robin Bordoloi.
Of the 14 seats, Congress secured seven in the last Lok Sabha polls in 2009 while the Bharatiya Janata Party got four seats. One seat each was bagged by Asom Gana Parishad, All India United Democratic Front and Bodo People`s Front, all local parties.
All India Congress Committee observer Bhupen Bora held a series of meetings with the leaders of the Tripura Congress in Agartala Wednesday and Thursday to select the candidates for the two Lok Sabha seats in the Left-ruled state.
"Former vice-chancellor of Tripura University (Central) Arunadoy Saha, royal scion Pradyut Bikram Kishore Debbarman, Ashok Sinha, Laxmi Nag and Basana Debnath were short-listed for the Lok Sabha seats in Tripura," a Congress leader told IANS.
Congress leaders said that the party high command has directed the state units of the party in the northeastern states to select candidates in their respective states.
Congress is in power in Manipur, Mizoram, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya while the Communist Party of India-Marxist-led Left Front rules Tripura. The Naga People`s Front (NPF)-led Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) is ruling in Nagaland and the Sikkim Democratic Front in Sikkim.