As the fight for tickets intensifies in Chhattisgarh,and each hopeful jostles to be seen and heard more than the others in party offices,the swirl in the Congress appears to be taking on some form of organisation.
And so,even as party stalwarts try hard to get their own men in and junior leaders swing between cluelessness and enthusiasm,there is quiet hope that the best man or woman will,in many cases,win the coveted Form B.
The micro-management teams created by Rahul Gandhi to survey each constituency have spread confidence in the party that weak candidates who pushed ahead earlier on the basis of their proximity to a power centre will not have it easy this time.
The teams submitted survey reports quite some time ago,and a screening committee headed by senior leader C P Joshi has been interviewing probables in Delhi for over a month. Top leaders from Chhattisgarh including former chief minister Ajit Jogi and leader of opposition Ravindra Chaubey have been camping in Delhi,and other leaders have made several visits,seemingly without any impact on the selectors.
Joshi and (Virudhunagar MP and Rahul confidant) Manicka Tagore seem to know the details of every mohalla of every constituency. We submitted forms with detailed information on our constituency,but they have more than that already. They scrutinise forms like school examiners, said a hopeful.
The Congresss response teams,comprising members from outside Chhattisgarh,visited every constituency a few months ago,took opinions of party leaders,workers and the common public,and randomly surveyed ordinary voters like chaiwallahs or bus conductors on their favourite candidates.
The process marked a change from earlier occasions when regional satraps proposed some names and got most of them tickets. The party has devised a meticulous process of selecting candidates that incorporates findings of survey teams,opinions of party leaders and the common man. It may have delayed the distribution of tickets somewhat,but it will ensure that only genuine candidates are selected and aspirations of winnable candidates are met, said Congress spokesperson Shailesh Nitin Trivedi.
Party leaders said the same process was followed to select candidates for the assembly polls in Karnataka,and it brought handsome results.
In the BJP too,screenings at various levels have been ongoing for long. But a latest survey report submitted to the Rashtriya Sah Sangathan Mahamantri Saudan on Monday exposed fissures within the party. The report said the majority of MLAs,including ministers,were unpopular in their constituencies and suggested they should be denied tickets.
Representatives of some leaders had a bitter altercation at the party office in Raipur,suggesting the party may find it difficult to distribute tickets without antagonising powerful leaders. BJP leaders,however,downplayed the show of dissent. It was a minor issue,we deliberately allowed it to spill over so that local workers feel confident and empowered, a BJP spokesperson said.