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Ajay Maken talks tough about candidate selection process for Congress

Sunday, 2 February 2014 - 2:15pm IST | Place: Ahmedabad / New Delhi | Agency: PTI
"Primaries system will empower the party workers in candidates selection and people will rise up the ladder through the organisation. This will complete the full cycle of reforms in government and political system and cleanse it," says Ajay Maken.
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"Primaries system will empower the party workers in candidates selection and people will rise up the ladder through the organisation. This will complete the full cycle of reforms in government and political system and cleanse it." 
This is the thinking of the Congress Vice President behind the move," Maken said responding to questions as to why the need for this new method of candidate selection was felt now.
Under the primaries, a representative section of party workers, leaders and others, satisfying certain criteria, will decide the Congress candidate from their constituency by participating in a simple voting process.
Similarly, any eligible person satisfying the clearly laid down requirements shall be accepted as a candidate for the primaries.
Addressing the AICC meeting here on January 17, Rahul Gandhi had said "in 15 constituencies in the Lok Sabha polls, we will finalise candidates by asking party workers. They will directly elect candidates".
Gandhi has been saying in internal party meetings that if the experiment works, it would be expanded everywhere in times to come.
To a question as to why the party has limited this exercise to 15 or 16 constituencies, Maken said that the required infrastructure to carry it out in a large number of seats needs to be built first.
"The biggest reason we could not have more primaries is that the structure, which needs to carry out this entire process, is still under construction and the biggest constraint is lack of a very large number of trained man-power to carry out such an elaborate exercise." AICC general secretaries Gurudas Kamat and Maken have requested Rahul Gandhi to include their seats North West Mumbai and New Delhi in the list of primaries.
Their requests came after Chandni Chowk and North West Delhi were dropped.
Earlier the constituency of AICC secretary Meenakshi Natarajan in Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh was included in the list after she requested for it.
Since two seats have already been included from Maharashtra, chances are that Kamat's request may not be accepted while one more seat from Delhi other than Maken's can find inclusion in the list of primaries as the leadership wanted two seats from Delhi for the experiment.
Congress, which was ruling Delhi for 15 years lost power in this assembly election and even its Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit lost to Arvind Kejriwal of AAP, who is now Chief Minister. Congress is supporting the Kejriwal government.
There is a view in the Congress leadership that while the Dikshit government did carry out development work, the connect with masses was somewhere lost.


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