BHOPAL: After three-days of tickets distribution meetings with the central screening committee in New Delhi this week, Congress on Thursday forwarded the list of prospective candidates to PCC chief Kamal Nath, former chief minister Digvijaya Singh and state election campaign committee chairman Jyotiraditya Scindia for the final approval. Sources in the Congress said that candidates who lost 2013 assembly elections by more than 15,000 votes including some erstwhile ministers of the Digvijaya Singh government will not be given tickets this time.
Though the party wants to declare the first list of 60 to 65 candidates before Dussehra, sources said it could taken a few more days to finalise it. This would be the list of non-controversial natural candidates including mostly sitting MLAs and those who were defeated by less than 3,000 votes in the last assembly polls. The second list would be for seats where the Congress lost by a margin of 3000 to 7,000 or 8,000 votes.
Finally, the third list would be candidates for the most difficult seats which the party has been repeatedly losing like Rehli represented by minister for panchayats and rural development Gopal Bhargava, Indore II represented by BJP MLA Ramesh Mandola, Indore IV – seat of city mayor Malini Gaur, Vidisha, Hoshangabad, Panagar in Jabalpur and Barghat in Seoni.
“The initial screening is complete with Madhya Pradesh leaders Kamal Nath, Digvijaya Singh, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Ajay Singh, Suresh Pachauri, Kantilal Bhuria, Vivek Tankha and central screening committee members Madhusudan Mistry, Ajay Singh Lallu and Netta D’Souza,” an AICC office-bearer told TOI. “Now the list has been handed over to Kamal Nath, Digvijaya Singh and Scindia to sort out the differences.” As part of formality, the list will be sent for approval by the central Election Committee and then announced, sources said.
The AICC office-bearer also said that Congress will release its manifesto in three phases. The first phase would be a manifesto for farmers and youth. “Farmers will be assured that agricultural loans will be waived if Congress comes to power and a road-map will be given to take farming forward by setting up a network of cold-storages throughout the state,” the source said. Youth will be ensured unemployment allowance till they get jobs. Registration of unemployed youth in the state was started by state Youth Congress from July.