The election committee of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) on Monday all but cleared the decks for 42 sitting MLAs for the upcoming Assembly elections on December 4. Senior party leaders maintained that the committee had broadly agreed to send a list of the 42 MLAs to the AICC screening committee without a panel of three names as proposed earlier.
A senior DPCC functionary said the decks had been all but cleared for the 42 sitting MLAs.
The election committee decided that single names of the sitting MLAs of 42 constituencies will be sent to the screening committee and PCC president J P Agarwal and Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit would be empowered to suggest three names each for the remaining 28 constituencies, he said.
He added that the name of one sitting MLA had been withheld pending an explanation after an FIR was registered against him recently.
In a bid to introduce transparency in the process of selection of candidates,the election committee had earlier discussed the prospect of short-listing three names from each constituency. However,differences in the party were evident after the election committee stood divided over the proposal that stemmed from vice-president Rahul Gandhis bid to involve the party cadre in the selection process.
Sources in the party stated that Agarwal and Dikshit would incorporate suggestions and reports from block and district presidents and observers before suggesting names for the 28 constituencies the Congress lost in the 2008 elections. Senior leaders also asserted that all candidates with criminal records would have to defend themselves before the screening committee.
According to a senior party leader,objections against at least six sitting MLAs,including two ministers,were raised in the election committee meetings. The list includes Education Minister Kiran Walia,Transport Minister Ramakant Goswami and MLAs Asif Mohammed Khan,Tarvinder Singh Marwah,Devendra Yadav and Jaswant Rana. The election committee decided that those candidates seeking a ticket from constituencies the Congress won last time would have to do so through the PCC president and CM, a senior official said.
Manish Chatrath has sought a ticket from Goswamis Rajinder Nagar constituency,while Pervez Hashmi and Jitendra Kochar are in the fray for tickets from Khans and Walias constituencies. Sources also stated that North-west Delhi MP Krishna Tirath had suggested alternative candidates for the Narela and Badli seats.