A 12-member Congress team comprising leaders from Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh reached Sant
Kabir Nagar district Wednesday and announced the schedule of “the primaries” to be held there to select candidates for the Lok Sabha elections.
Sant Kabir Nagar is one of the 16 Lok Sabha constituencies across the country where Rahul Gandhi’s idea of “US style primaries” is being executed.
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The team, consists of 11 members nominated by the AICC and one member nominated by the UP Congress committee, said the preparation of voters’ list would be on February 13 and 14, data entry of voters’ list and meeting with probable voters on February 15; publication of the voters’ list on February 16; its scrutiny on February 17 and 18; last date to file nominations on February 18; scrutiny of nominations and allotment of symbols on February 20 giving next five days time to the eligible candidates to campaign.
The final voting would take place on February 26.
The team is headed by two Lok Sabha returning officers — Pradeep Zaildar, who is a former Youth Congress leader from Haryana, and Sumit Khanna, a Congress leader from Himachal Pradesh.
During the 2012 Assembly elections, Zaildar was given charge of Bansgaon assembly seat.
Onkar Singh has been nominated by UP Congress committee as one of the returning officers.
However, the idea of primaries is lost on many partymen. After the meeting, a local Congress leader told The Indian Express, “I do not understand why would they include pradhans, who they are calling sarpanch in the voters’ list. Each one of them has different political affiliations, so why would they participate in our process.”
He added, “When one of us raised this question, the returning officer said that since the panchayat elections are not fought on a party symbol, every pradhan has the right to vote for a party candidate. It would be interesting to finally see how many of them would be ready to be part of the Congress process.”
Similarly, as per the probable schedule for the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency, which is the other constituency selected for Congress primaries in UP, voters’ list would be prepared from February 19 to 21; scrutiny of the list would be on February 24 and 25; nominations would be filed on February 25; and the final voting is scheduled on March 3.