The upbeat mood within the Congress after its sweep of the Urban Local Bodies election this March is dissipating, as the party struggles with balancing the demands of many pressure groups. Out of over 2000 applications, around 600 were shortlisted on the criteria of loyalty, winnability and non-criminal records. The infighting reflects the lack of party cohesion and finds its measure in the daily protests by ticket-seekers and their supporters outside the Congress party office on the busy Queen’s Road, which have also earned it the ire of the harried Bangalore commuter who gets stuck in endless Congress-generated traffic jams. The heartburn over seat selection goes right to the top.
The Congress has cleared the names of 177 candidates to 224 Assembly constituencies, which triggered the first wave of protests from those left out. The second and final list of 47 seats is to be announced on April 14, and it is expected that party president Sonia Gandhi who chairs the Central Election Committee will play an important role in this.