The Gujarat Congress has shortlisted panel of names for Lok Sabha constituencies in the state which will be sent to the central screening committee.
Though the Congress received a drubbing at the hands of Chief Minister Narendra Modi in three successive Assembly polls, its performance in Lok Sabha elections was good in the state where it won 11 out of 26 seats in 2009.
“For the nine seats where we have sitting MPs, the state unit has submitted a report, while for the other 17 seats a panel of names has been finalised during the last few days,” Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said.
However, this time the party will have to work harder to match its earlier performance as the BJP has fielded Mr. Modi as the prime ministerial candidate and has set a target of winning all 26 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
The state Congress leaders recently took out a Sadachar Yatra to highlight the alleged misdeeds of the BJP government like the snooping scandal, corruption and misgovernance.
The youth Congress leaders embarked upon a Vikas Shodh yatra to find out if there is any actual development on the ground against claims of Mr. Modi’s ‘Gujarat model’ of development.
“We held ground level meetings in districts and took the views of local leaders on who is the right person to contest the elections in the state. Many leaders have also come forward demanding tickets on their own,” Mr. Doshi said.
“After completing that exercise, we held two meetings in the last few days and finalised the panel of names for 17 constituencies,” Mr. Doshi said.
“The panel includes two to five names of probable candidates. They will be sent to the central screening committee for Gujarat headed by Pawan Kumar Bansal,” he said.
“For the nine seats — Surendranagar, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Patan, Dahod, Valsad, Bardoli, Anand and Kheda — on which we have sitting MPs, we sent a ground report for the screening committee to decide if they want to change a sitting MP or not,” party sources said.
Congress has lost two seats in by-elections after the 2009 polls. The party’s parliamentary board will take a final decision regarding the nomination of candidates, Mr. Doshi said.