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Congress to continue with 'Primaries' despite 'shortcomings'

Wednesday, 26 March 2014 - 6:08pm IST | Agency: PTI

Unfazed by criticism of his US- style 'Primaries' experiment to select candidates for polls, Rahul Gandhi today said the process will continue though he did acknowledge certain "shortcomings" in the exercise.

"It is designed to demonstrate that decision on candidates can be successfully taken with inputs from a large number of people. Every party talks about involving people in the ticket distribution but nobody does it.
" Congress has gone forward and done it. We have to move away from the practice of very few people choosing who will represent the nation," Gandhi said responding to questions during the party's manifesto release.

In the AICC meeting on January 16, Gandhi had announced with much fanfare his primaries idea to empower grassroot leaders to fight the Lok Sabha elections.

But most of 16 constituencies under this experiment chose sitting MPs, senior leaders, their kith and kin or close associates, virtually defeating the purpose of the exercise. The experiment witnessed several controversies in various states including in Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh on various counts including selection of constituencies, charges of bogus voting and use of money power.
What was hailed as a pioneering experiment in Indian politics, turned out to be one that came under attack from party's own cadres.

The Congress Vice President, however, maintained that there will be issues in few seats "but these are things that come out in any new process". 

Insisting that the idea of primaries is an "extremely powerful idea" under which candidates in 15-16 Lok Sabha seats have been chosen by over 12 thousand party workers, Gandhi said, "it is true that there are shortcomings in the process but it must be seen as an idea and not a process...there will be issues in one or two seats but these are the things that will come up in any new process. "This is something we will carry out."




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