The Maharashtra unit of the Congress is likely to announce its first list of candidates for the forthcoming Assembly elections in the next two to three days. The move is aimed at giving enough time to candidates for campaigning. If the Congress announces its first list of candidates before election dates are announced, it will perhaps be the first-of-its-kind move by the party, which usually announces its candidates much later.
Most of the MLAs from the party are likely to be renominated, said Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant. “Our first list will be out in two to three days,” he said. The Congress is likely to announce its first of 60 candidates and its alliance partner NCP is likely to announce a list of 70 candidates. NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said the party was ready with the first list and it will be announced soon. “The list contains the names of several sitting MLAs and it will be announced soon,” he said.
Sachin Sawant said the party wanted to ensure that candidates had enough time to campaign. “Yes, it must be the first time we are announcing the list early. This will give adequate time to the candidates to campaign… there will be no confusion over who the candidate will be for a particular seat if the names are announced early,” he said.
The Congress has been jolted by its poor performance in the Lok Sabha election earlier this year when it won only one seat in the entire state. In the other seats it contested, the party candidates came a distant second.
“The challenge is immense. And therefore, we need to give an early start to our candidates,” said a Congress leader.
In the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress delayed announcing the names of its candidates. It announced the last list on the last day of filing of nominations, leading to a lot of confusion among the rank and file of the party.