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Congress begins shortlisting of candidates for upcoming Rajasthan assembly election 2013.
JAIPUR: The Congress's vital round of candidate selection process for the state assembly elections began on Monday, as a six-member screening committee under Ajay Maken held discussions with senior party leaders from here in New Delhi.
The process, which is being described as the semi-final round of the selections, would continue on Tuesday. At the end of the two-day discussions, candidates for the elections scheduled on December 1 would nearly be finalised by the screening committee.
Besides Maken and Odisha MP R C Khuntia, the screening committee included AICC general secretary in-charge of Rajasthan Gurudas Kamat, AICC secretary in-charge Mirza Irshad Baig, PCC chief Chandrabhan and chief minister Ashok Gehlot.
On the first day, the committee invited Union ministers from the state, ex-PCC chiefs and some members of the pradesh election committee (PEC) for the discussions to shortlist potential candidates.
Meeting each senior leader separately, the committee held long discussions, which were more in nature of feedbacks on the ticket claimants and the party's position on their home turfs. On Tuesday, the state's remaining MPs would be invited for the discussion-cum-feedbacks.
Almost every top Congress leader from the state has been camping in the national capital since last weekend. Hundreds of the ticket aspirants from the state too have shifted base, as chief minister Gehlot and the PCC chief moved to Delhi last week to shortlist candidates for the 200 assembly seats.
The final selections, though, would be made by the party's chief election committee (CEC) under president Sonia Gandhi. The state leaders have begun meeting the party's central leadership too. Minister Bina Kak tweeted about meeting Sonia Gandhi on October 3. The first list of the party's candidates is expected towards the second half of this month.
Among those who met the screening committee on Monday, the name of union minister and Jhunjhunu MP Sis Ram Ola figured prominently. Ola had the day's longest discussion-lasted for nearly three hours-with the committee members.
The veteran leader occasionally comes into limelight for subtly opposing Gehlot and his leadership, especially in relation to Jat politics in the state. The political buzz these days is that he is opposed to a minister's claim for the election ticket from his district this time.
Others who met the screening committee on day one included union ministers Girija Vyas, Sachin Pilot, Namo Narayan Meena and Lal Chand Kataria. According to sources, the committee listened to the senior leaders' suggestions on how to face BJP challenges and win seats in their areas.