Process of discussions has gathered pace as the party wants to finalise all the candidates before Diwali

The Screening Committee of the Congress for selection of candidates for the upcoming Delhi Assembly elections on Saturday decided to continue with the formula adopted for ensuring that only candidates with no criminal record and those who have not fared too badly in the past are given tickets.

At the meeting, which took place at 28 Tughlaq Crescent Road, residence of the chairman of the panel, Member of Parliament V. Narayanaswamy, discussed at length the names of the candidates.

Party sources said the meeting was also attended by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president J.P. Agarwal, All India Congress Committee general secretary in-charge of Delhi Shakeel Ahmed and AICC secretary in-charge of Delhi Kuljeet Nagra.

A member of the Screening Committee said the meeting reaffirmed the criteria which had been adopted for short-listing the candidates. “The panel would not recommend the name of any candidate who had either lost Assembly or municipal elections twice earlier. Similarly, tickets would not be given to those who would have lost these elections by a margin of over 10,000.’’

Another important criteria that the Congress would adhere to, keeping in mind party vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s insistence on not giving tickets to candidates with a criminal background, is that anyone involved in a heinous crime would not be given a party ticket. “Apart from those involved in serious offences such as rape, murder or attempt to murder, we would also not be considering those involved in land-grabbing cases,’’ said the leader.

The process of discussions has gathered pace as the party wants to finalise all the tickets before Diwali, even if it would probably announce them later. “The tickets may or may not be announced together, but now there is very little time left for finalising them.’’

These criteria for selection would also apply to the sitting MLAs and even cases registered against them in the past five years would determine their continuation. So, the party would now keenly have to look how the candidature of Okhla MLA Mohammad Asif, who has recently moved to the Congress, and Jangpura MLA Tarvinder Singh Marwah, who was recently indicted by the Lokayukta for applying for his daughter’s admission in a course on the basis of a fake mark sheet, would be considered by the party.

While Ms. Dikshit has been insisting that all 42 sitting MLAs of the party should be given party tickets, differences of opinion had forced the 27-member Election Committee earlier this week to empower Ms. Dikshit and Mr. Agarwal to decide on the panel of members for every Assembly segment.

They had subsequently met at the Congress war room on Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Road on Tuesday and come up with the formula to reject the applications of certain candidates.

Now, the two are again expected to meet frequently over the next couple of days before the next meeting of the Screening Committee on Tuesday.

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