Before the first list of candidates contesting the Assembly elections on Congress ticket is out, the party is coming up with a list of its members who could turn rebels if denied a chance to fight the polls.
The decision, which was taken after AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi asked the state Congress leaders how they were planning to control the damage after ticket distribution is complete, led to the postponement of ticket distribution in Rajasthan, sources said.
After Gandhi’s intervention, the Congress has resorted to serious damage control measures post-ticket distribution to minimise resentment among its leaders. “The party will field one AICC observer in every district to stem resentment among the leaders who are denied party tickets,” a reliably placed official said. This is a first as observers have traditionally come home before the selection process begins.
Highly placed sources in the party informed that Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has sought damage-control plan on each seat from leaders in Rajasthan. “They have been asked to list the reasons for which a candidate is denied ticket and those who could turn rebels. This list will be given to respective observers who will help negotiate the disgruntled ‘rejects’ after the tickets are announced.
The last time around 40 leaders rebelled against the party leading to loss of face and seats in the Assembly.
This time round, the numbers are expected to go down, as Congress has reportedly ensured the participation of leaders and party workers at different levels during the ticket distribution process.
The selected leaders too have been asked to submit reports on their plans to retain community votes on the seats where leaders belonging to the castes in majority can be denied tickets.
After the meeting of CEC, where several objections were raised, leaders held regular meetings in New Delhi to review the list again.
The damage-control plan is being prepared simultaneously, a senior official of the party said.