Sunday, January 30, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Congress probables tomorrow
From K. V. Prasad
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Jan 29 — Bugged by factionalism and flooded with complaints about antecedents of candidates, the Congress today postponed the selection of nominees for the Haryana elections to Monday.

The Congress central election committee is now expected to meet here on January 31 and start finalising the candidates for the poll due to be held on February 22. The last day for filing of nominations is February 3.

The Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi has asked a panel of leaders comprising Mr Madhavrao Scindia, Mr Motilal Vora, the AICC General Secretary in charge of the party affairs in Haryana, and AICC Secretary V. Narayanswamy to screen the list of names and shortlist the same.

The names submitted by state leaders are to be evaluated as per the recommendations of the Antony committee as also the Panchmarhi declaration aimed to give the party a new face.

Party sources said the central election committee could not meet today as the Congress President had to leave for Varanasi and was busy with the party programme to hold a protest on Sunday against the order of the Gujarat government permitting employees to take part in RSS “Shakas” (camps).

Apart from providing a greater number seats to women and backward classes, there was an understanding that people who had lost two elections in a row or the last election with less than 10,000 votes be denied nomination.

The Antony committee had recommended an elaborate process to select and shortlist candidates both for Parliament and assemblies through screening committees. However, one of the recommendations which has been since accepted by the party, will not be adhered to.

The committee had said the party should announce candidates for Assembly elections at least one month in advance. With the polling day just over three weeks away, there is no sight of the list of official candidates.

Party sources said the election panel which met earlier this week did not take up the list of names submitted by state leaders as these were not screened. So a separate committee was asked to go through the process and return with names shortlisted.

Several aspirants who have been hanging around the AICC complex and residences of various state leaders have voiced their grievance against names of certain individuals who figure on panels.

Yesterday Congress MP from Meerut Avtar Singh Bhadana is reported to have told the Congress President to do an “MP style” selection when several sitting MLAs were dropped and new faces given ticket. Of course, since Haryana had just 12 MLAs in the dissolved House, the rule may not be applied.

Mr Bhadana is also pushing the candidature of his wife, Ms Mamata from Mewla Maharajpur.

There are reports of a section of CWC members being opposed to any tie-up with Mr Ajit Singh’s Lok Dal.

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