With as many as 21 claimants for the Lucknow seat,the city Congress has adopted a process of secret ballot paper voting to decide on the three probable candidates for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
A special 56-member committee,comprising city Congress committee executive committee members,AICC and PCC members from Lucknow,heads of frontal organisations from Lucknow as well as former and sitting party MLAs from Lucknow,was called for voting Thursday.
A ballot paper having names of all the 21 claimants was prepared and each member was asked to cast their vote,which was opened late in the evening in the presence of party observer Ammar Rizvi.
On instructions of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi,each district and city unit has asked to send a panel of three probable candidates after consensus.
However,in some of the seats,it has become difficult for the committees to decide on three names due to factionalism.
All 56 members of the committee were called today.
After much discussion,three options were placed before them to decide on the names. One was to delegate power to one leader to decide the names,another to go for a debate,and the last was to go for secret voting. Most members agreed to secret voting, Congress city president said Neeraj Bora.
Though party MLA and former state president Rita Bahuguna Joshi is one of the strongest claimants for the seat,she skipped the meeting reportedly due to personal reasons. In all,51 members participated in the voting Among some of the prominent claimants of the seat are Joshi,who contested the 2009 Lok Sabha elections and finished second,Sunil Shastri,son of former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri,and film actress Nagma,who has been campaigning for the party in the Hindi heartland for quiet some time now.
Others keen to contest on the party ticket include retired Air Marshal Ashok Goel,former Additional Solicitor General of India Ashok Nigam and trader leaders Brajesh Gupta Chanchal.
Though the party refused to officially declare the final three names,which would be sent to the Central election committee of the party,sources said Joshi has got a maximum of about 34 votes.
The other two names on the panel are likely to be former MLA Shyam Kishore Shukla and party leader Pramod Singh.
We found the process to be the most democratic way of selecting probable candidates. The secret voting is likely to be followed in areas where party units fail to choose three probable names, Rizvi told The Indian Express after the voting.