Monday, January 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India 


M A I N   N E W S

Congress may review list
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
In view of the resentment expressed by leaders of different factions of the party from Punjab over the allotment of the party ticket for the Assembly elections, the Congress high command is likely to review decisions in this regard.

Though in the presence of Mrs Sonia Gandhi, the Election Committee of the party had selected the candidates for 85 constituencies and given out the names unofficially to some mediapersons, at the instance of Mrs Gandhi the official announcement of the names has been withheld till tomorrow, according to informed sources.

A senior Congress leader told The Tribune that the party high command was feeling concerned about the growing discontent among leaders from Punjab over the allotment of the party ticket. Because of this reason, officially no list of names had been released yet.

He said to avoid the revival of intense faction fighting during the election campaign because of dissatisfaction over the choice of candidates, the party high command would like to satisfy all senior leaders to ensure cohesive electioneering.

He said there was no dispute at all on the names of the candidates for 35 constituencies. But on all other constituencies, except in the case of sitting MLAs, there were serious differences among the leaders of different factions.

Sources said that the last meeting of the Election Committee would be held tomorrow. No meeting was held today as Mrs Gandhi usually stays away from political activity on Sundays. Tomorrow, most of the names finalised so far are likely to be reviewed, it is learnt.

The party high command has also got reports that Mr Sharad Pawar, a former Union Minister, who had formed the Nationalist Congress Party after breaking away from the Congress, has established contact through his emissaries with Congress leaders from Punjab who feel slighted on the issue of the allotment of the party ticket.

“Of course, it is an opportunity for Mr Pawar to fish in troubled waters to establish his roots in Punjab”, said a senior Congress leader from Punjab, who left for Delhi today amid reports of the party high command’s intention to review the list of candidates.

Sources said that Mr Pawar had offered to finance the election campaign of a substantial number of candidates , if his party’s unit was set up by the aspirants whose claims had been ignored by the Congress while preparing the final list of candidates.

Though the Congress, including its chief, Mrs Gandhi, has been openly supporting 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and the state assemblies, according to indicating the number of women candidates in the Congress list for the Punjab poll may be well below 15 per cent. Even in the case of the backward classes, the party has not shown the required interest.

Sources said that the family of the late President of India, Giani Zail Singh, had been ignored. His son was an aspirant for the party ticket from Kotkapura, his nephew from Anandpur Sahib and another relative from Rampura Phul.

Likewise, other senior leaders, including Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Mr Jagmeet Brar, Mr Mohinder Singh Gill, Mr Hans Raj Sharma, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo and Mr Varinder Kataria have been feeling marginalised as either the claims of most of their supporters have been overlooked or made irrelevant by allocating 11 seats to the CPI. There are also reports that the Congress may enter into seat adjustment with the CPM.Back

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