The Congress’s second list was to be released on Wednesday, but it has been delayed by a day. The party’s Central Election Committee is still mulling over selecting candidates who have come under a cloud, and trying to persuade sitting MPs who are reluctant to contest from the constituencies they represent to bite the bullet.
Indications on Wednesday evening were that while the former Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal was likely to be renominated from Chandigarh, neither the former Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi, who represents Pune, nor his wife — contrary to reports — would get ticket.
The CEC is also in a dilemma over whether Nanded can be given to Meera Chavan, wife of the former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, who was forced to quit in 2010 after it was revealed that three of his relatives had bought flats in the scam-ridden Adarsh Housing Society.
The Congress sought to make a distinction between those who have been charge-sheeted/convicted, like Mr. Kalmadi, and those against whom there are only allegations as yet, such as Mr. Bansal. “It is unfair to call Bansal tainted,” party spokesperson Randip Surjewala told journalists. “No charge sheet has been filed against him. The BJP has been leading a diatribe against him, but the fact is there are no charges against him. He resigned on moral grounds.”
His name, party sources said, has been cleared. But the CEC decided not to include him in the first list of 194 candidates, released on Saturday, for fear that it would spark a controversy.