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No takers for Rahul Gandhi's primaries ideas; Congress first list likely on Thursday

Wednesday, 12 February 2014 - 6:00am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

Even as the Congress hopes to announce its first list of Lok Sabha candidates on Thursday, the fate of vice president Rahul Gandhi's idea of holding primaries to select candidates from 15 constituencies hangs balance.

Of the 15 constituencies, primaries for two — Guwahati and Kolkata North — are set to take place on Wednesday. However, while seven candidates are in the fray for Guwahati, just one, Somendra Nath Mitra, has come forward for Kolkata North and so the primary will not be held as scheduled. There is no schedule for the remaining 13 constituencies and all queries on the issue drew a blank.

Meanwhile, party president Sonia Gandhi has summoned a meeting on Thursday of the Central Election Committee (CEC) to finalise candidates from the lists already received from the screening committees.

The first round, sources said, will see decisions on seats lost in 2009 in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Chhattisgarh and the Northeast. The fate of sitting MPs will be decided after the current Parliament session ends.

"The CEC's first meeting will finalise candidates for seats where we do not have sitting MPs," said general secretary Madhusudan Mistry. He said most of the screening committees are done scrutinising the names received from the party's state units and submitted their recommendations to enable the process of the final selection of candidates.

The screening committee, headed by Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, began scrutinising the names soon after concluding seat sharing arrangement with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in Maharashtra.

Kharge also heads the screening committee for Madhya Pradesh, which has already completed its task.

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