Despite the uproar within the Congress over Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma’s questioning of the ‘primaries’ system – mooted by party vice-president Rahul Gandhi – returning officers in Ambedkar Nagar constituency have found his allegations, that “members of other political parties are trying to enter the system,” to be true.
After reviewing the recent applications, the Congress found as many as 34 applicants (all wanting to be voters to select party candidates for the Lok Sabha election) belonged to other parties. Of these 34, the party had clear proof against 10 – five of whom were from BSP, four from Samajwadi Party and one from BJP. All these applications, along with 120 others, have been rejected on various grounds. Similarly, in Sant Kabir Nagar, around 300 applications were rejected as well.
But the one rejection that caught everybody’s attention was that of Achchhan Khan, who had filed his application claiming to be a member of Seva Dal, the party’s frontal organisation. He was disqualified from voting for Congress primary in Ambedkar Nagar after party cadre submitted newspaper clippings showing him to be present at the recently organised “Namo tea party” in the district.
Verma had raised these suspicion on February 24 – the day party began reviewing its voters’ list – with the Samajwadi Party being the specific target, but those working in the system had rejected his claim, saying “no one outside of Congress has been allowed to be part of the system”.
While Ramdev Yadav was found to be gram pradhan (village head), three others were found to be block panchayat members – and all belong to the SP.
“We have been very cautious in reviewing the list. Some people from other parties tried to enter the system, but we have rejected all such applications,” said Vishnu Sharma, one of the two returning officers. For the purpose of transparency, the Congress primaries team has also uploaded the voter list, and the rejection list with reasons behind their rejection, online.
Since the result, the Congress has also become extra cautious in selecting candidates. Of the five nominations that were received from Ambedkar Nagar, three have been rejected. While two were rejected for submitting unfinished forms, the third (of one Daya Shankar) was rejected because he belonged to a different party. Voting will take place March 3 between Ashok Singh, a senior party leader, and Krishna Kumar Yadav, president, Ambedkar Nagar LS segment of Youth Congress.