The Madhya Pradesh Congress has decided to roll back its decision to take Rs 50,000 from each ticket-seeker for the assembly election scheduled later this year, apparently after it was flooded with “negative feedback.”
Sources in the party said the Congress will refund the money collected from more than 350 ticket aspirants between March 1 and 15.
The party’s Madhya Pradesh in-charge, Deepak Babaria, had earlier announced that those seeking tickets for the coming assembly elections in the state would have to furnish a ‘non refundable’ demand draft of Rs 50,000 towards the MP Congress Committee with the application. Aspirants were also told to deposit a draft for Rs 2,000 towards National Herald and Rs 1,000 in cash as membership fee.
The decision was taken to tide over an apparent financial crisis that the state unit of the party was facing. The Congress has been out of power in Madhya Pradesh since 2003-end.
However, senior leaders, including chief whip in Lok Sabha Jyotiraditya Scindia and Leader of Opposition Ajay Singh, had insisted that “winnability” was the only criterion for getting tickets. They refrained from openly criticising the party’s decision to seek the money.
A spokesperson of the faction-ridden unit, without wishing to be named, however told The Indian Express that some leaders were unhappy with the decision because they had not been consulted before it was announced. He said by objecting to such “fund-raising,’’ the local leaders were trying to cut Babaria to size.
Another spokesperson claimed that the party felt those failing to get tickets could create trouble ahead of elections.
This is the second retraction by Babaria, who was made in-charge of MP in September last year. In February, he said that those above 60 years will be denied assembly ticket. He later clarified that he was only requesting to those who had crossed 60 and had lost two elections in row not to seek party tickets.