Amidst reports of a possible alliance ahead of the state Assembly elections, the Congress is preparing to release its first list of around 100 candidates this month itself, with sources saying that Priyanka Gandhi is playing an “active role” in the process.
Priyanka is also set to play a pivotal role in selecting candidates beyond Amethi and Rae Bareli, said sources. A senior party leader said she was regularly meeting state leaders. “It is a crucial election and like other leaders, she is taking active interest in poll preparations. There is nothing hidden about it,” the leader said.
Though no date has been fixed yet for the first meeting of its screening committee, sources in the Congress said it had started identifying seats with sitting candidates, seats which they have a strong chance of winning as well as those in which the party had finished second in the 2012 state Assembly polls.
The Congress had won 29 seats in the 2012 elections, while its candidates stood second in around 31 of the total 403 seats in the state. However, out of these, many sitting MLAs as well as candidates who had come second during the last Assembly elections have already left the party.
Former state party president and MLA from Lucknow Cantonment Rita Bahuguna Joshi, MLA from Tiloi Assembly under Amethi Lok Sabha Mohd Muslim and Pradeep Chaudhary are among the leaders who left. Thus, from a previous strength of 29 MLAs, Congress is now left with just 20 sitting MLAs.