Workers feeling dejected with Congress leaders

Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar

"They forced district units to send only one name from wards"

NEW DELHI: Flouting prescribed norms demanding that each of the 12 districts in the Capital send a list of three to five short-listed prospective candidates for the upcoming Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections, some senior Congress leaders of Delhi have forced their respective district units to send single-name representations from the wards they dominate. This has also hurt the sentiments of local leaders and workers who were desirous of getting the party ticket.

According to Congress sources, from the Delhi Sadar parliamentary constituency alone one name each was forwarded by the district unit for as many as 16 wards. Here party workers claimed that they were humiliated and insulted when they approached the senior party leaders for tickets.

Similar story was repeated in some wards of Outer Delhi where handpicked persons were named in the list forwarded to the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee and the democratic process involving selection by a committee comprising the District Congress Committee president and observer, area Member of Parliament, area MLA, and district presidents of the area frontal organisations -- namely Mahila Congress, Youth Congress, National Students' Union of India and Sewa Dal -- was not followed.

In Outer Delhi some MLAs had openly declared that they would decide on the name of the candidate and would brook no interference in the matter. One MLA had in a public meeting attended by a senior Delhi Government functionary reportedly declared that he would not let any "outsider" to be fielded from eight wards in and around his constituency.

The conduct of certain MPs and MLAs has left the Congress workers flummoxed. Though there was much enthusiasm among the workers and over 10,000 applications had been filed for the 272 wards, they insist that conduct of certain leaders has given out a message that they do not care for party policies and want to run their diktat.

The workers want the party Central leadership to rein in such leaders lest infighting affect the party's prospects in the polls. However, there is some cause for cheer for the workers as the 10-member Election Screening Committee announced by the Congress - to decide on the final list of candidates -- does not have any of these MPs or MLAs. The workers are now hoping that the Screening Committee would take serious note of the matter and not allow any kind of autocratic functioning in the party.