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DELHI ELECTIONS 2007

Congressmen sore over selection of candidates

Sunday 25 March 2007, by BHATNAGAR*Gaurav Vivek

Weak contestants chosen, complain party workers

NEW DELHI: More than any anti-incumbency factor or price rise issue, Congress leaders and workers in Delhi believe it is the manner of selection of candidates for the coming Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections which would work the most against the interests of the party.

Be it giving a ticket to a candidate whose husband was considered close to the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh or to one who would be on a weak footing due to caste equations in various wards, the Congress has disappointed many of its ardent workers and leaders.

"In Sitapuri, the party ticket has gone to a candidate whose husband was an RSS worker. This has prompted the local Congress workers to field their own representative as an Independent candidate,’’ said a senior party leader.

The party workers are flummoxed at the manner of selection. "A Minister in East Delhi had suggested four names from his constituency which had a Punjabi-Brahmin, a Jain, a Punjabi and an Other Backward Class candidate.

However, at the last moment the OBC aspirant’s ticket was cut since there was a criminal case against him and it was replaced with a Punjabi candidate without consulting the Minister.’’

As a result, the Minister now has three Punjabi candidates in the four constituencies and a very hostile cadre to contend with, said a party functionary.

A party leader said while the party had prepared a list of sitting Councillors it wanted to replace, it was not shared with the MLAs and MPs.

To buttress his argument that the process of selection was bad, he said: "The case of Madhu Khurana is an eye-opener. A sitting Councillor from Karol Bagh, she was denied the ticket from there and has instead been fielded from Rajouri Garden. Now not only is she new to the area, she would also face opposition from the local Congress leaders.’’

See online : The Hindu

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