Following the footsteps of the BSP, the Congress has began the process of selecting candidates for the 2017 Assembly polls and profiling of each of the 403 constituencies in Uttar Pradesh. This comes at a time when there are talks that the party may enter into a pre-poll alliance.
The All India Congress Committee (AICC) has appointed 20 leaders from Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand for the purpose, with each being responsible for 18 to 22 constituencies.
Equipped with a set format, the leaders have to give a profile of the concerned constituency, details of probable candidates, nominees declared by other parties, possible independent candidates, senior leaders who could be significant for campaigning in the region and caste equations among others. These leaders are expected to submit their report to the AICC within a week.
While Congress rarely starts the exercise of selecting candidates a year ahead of polls, compared to the last Assembly polls, it has avoided appointing former MPs and MLAs as observers.
This time, most observers reportedly come with NSUI and Youth Congress backgrounds and are second-line cadre leaders in their respective states. A senior leader said the idea was to identify such people, who have strong cadre background and can conduct the study on ground without being influenced.
Sources said at present, the list of observers camping in UP includes names like Mrinal Pant from Madhya Pradesh, Neeraj Dangi, Jagdish Chandra and Sanyan Lodha from Rajasthan, Chakraborty Shamra from Haryana, Qazi Nizamuddin and Jayendra Ramola from Uttrakhand and Nitin Govalkar from Maharastra.
While these observers have started visiting their constituencies 15 days ago, this is their second visit to the state in the recent past. Around two months ago, they had visited the district headquarters to take feedback regarding problems and issues faced by the region, anti-incumbency against the current government, if any, and prevailing sentiments.
“The exercise is on and observers are visiting their respective regions. We hope they would be able to submit their reports within a week. Further strategy will be prepared based on these reports,” AICC General Secretary Madhusudan Mistry said.