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Hiccups in Congress Primary selection experiment; two seats dropped

Friday, 31 January 2014 - 6:03pm IST | Agency: PTI

Rahul Gandhi's experiment of choosing Congress candidates for Lok Sabha polls through the "primary" system on the lines of the US appears to have suffered initial hiccups with two constituencies being dropped from the list of 16.

Soon after the list was made public yesterday, the constituencies of Chandni Chowk and North West Delhi were removed from it, apparently as the sitting MPs and union ministers Kapil Sibal and Krishna Tirath were uncomfortable. The two constituencies figured in the list of 16 Lok Sabha seats for 'INC Primary' put out on the party website. But hours later, names of Chandni Chowk and North West Delhi were found deleted.

Under the 'Primary' system, a political party or a political alliance nominates candidates for an election by shortlisting through an internal vote.
The constituencies where the candidate selection will be done through the "primary" system now include Guwahati (Assam), Bhavnagar and Vadodara (Gujarat), Bangalore North and Daskshin Kanara (Karnataka), Indore and Mandsaur (Madhya Pradesh) Aurangabad and Yavatamal-Washim (Maharashtra), Bikaner and Jhunjhunu (Rajasthan) Sant Kabir Nagar and Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) and Kolkata North (West Bengal).

Congress is the first national party to bring in such a process in India, the party said on its website. 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". This was interpreted as the party apparently taking the leaf out of AAP strategy to directly involve people in candidate selection.

Gandhi has been said that if the experiment works, it would be expanded to legislatures.

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