Amid uncertainty over alliances in many states, especially Uttar Pradesh, the Congress high command has signalled to the state units to set in motion the process of selection of candidates for all Lok Sabha seats. The message from members of the Congress core committee to AICC general secretaries, in-charges of states and secretaries at a meeting on Wednesday was clear. Gear up for elections, fill the gaps in the organisation at all levels, set up election-related committees in states and start the informal exercise of consultations for identifying candidates for all the seats. Sources said the message from Congress president Rahul Gandhi was that the party should be ready with candidates for all seats while the high command would take a call on alliances.
There is still no word on finalising the draft report prepared by the chief ministers’ sub-group of NITI Aayog on agriculture and MGNREGA. The issue is that the sub-group, which includes chief ministers of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, was headed by former Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan. With the recent Assembly elections changing equations in the state, it is now up to the NITI Aayog to take a call on the fate of the draft.
The top leadership of both the BSP and SP may have been trying to keep the Congress out from the alliance they are planning in Uttar Pradesh ahead of Lok Sabha elections. But its MPs seem to be closely following what the Congress is up to. On Wednesday, while Rahul Gandhi was speaking, BSP’s Rajya Sabha MPs Ashok Siddharth and Veer Singh and SP’s Surendra Singh Nagar were promptly seated in the chamber for Upper House members in the Lok Sabha gallery. Three of them reached there before Gandhi initiated his attack on the government over the Rafale deal and left as he concluded his speech, without waiting for Arun Jaitley’s response to it.