Sitting Congress MP from Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh, Meenakshi Natarajan on Monday emerged as a consensus candidate through the primary, which is piloted by Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, to contest upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
Ms. Natarajan’s victory came against the backdrop of former Neemuch district Congress president and Lok Sabha aspirant Surendra Sethi’s allegation that the primary was rigged. Mr. Sethi had boycotted the election.
The concept of primary is aimed at decentralisation of power and encouraging inner-party democracy in Congress.
A total of 1,501 persons were eligible to cast vote in the primary election, which was held at hotel Harsh Vilas in Mandsaur on Monday.
Ms. Natarajan secured 706 votes out of total of 781 votes cast, whereas Mr. Sethi got 50 votes while 25 votes were rejected.
Mr. Sethi had alleged at least 500 Congress workers registered for voting did not belong to either Neemuch or Mandsaur, which according to him has cast a serious doubt on authenticity of the entire process.
“It is sad that Rahul’s pilot project was being sabotaged by those who claim to be close to him,” he had said.
Under the project being steered by Rahul, nominees in 15 Lok Sabha constituencies across the country, will be chosen through primaries or inner party elections in a bid to strengthen “democracy” in Congress.
Ms. Natarajan, also AICC secretary, was selected by Rahul for contesting from Mandsaur in 2009 general elections, which she won by over 30,000 votes defeating her BJP opponent Laxmi Narayan Pandey.