Congress not to field those with criminal records

To accord priority to youths, backward classes, minorities

Election committee of the State Congress on Sunday set the parameters for selecting candidates for the coming Assembly elections, which includes barring those with criminal records from contesting the polls and according priority to youth.

The committee, which concluded its two-day meeting at a resort near Devanahalli, unanimously passed a resolution not to give the tickets to those with criminal records. It was also resolved to ensure social justice by giving priority to backward classes and minorities. Candidates belonging to the minority communities had performed well in the recently-held ULB polls.

The parameters have been laid down as per the directions issued by party vice president Rahul Gandhi recently. Karnataka is the first big State that will be going to polls after Rahul’s elevation as the vice president.

Sources said the committee, comprising 59 senior leaders, was almost unanimous in its stand not to issue the tickets to those who have lost with huge margin (more than 15,000 votes) in the past elections and those who have been defeated twice in a row.  The parameters would make it lot easier for the AICC screening committee and the high command to shortlist ticket aspirants and pick the right candidates, sources pointed out. On the first day of the meeting on Saturday, many senior leaders in the panel had advocated the need for guidelines to select candidates.

They had insisted that the one-man-one-post principle should be followed (to keep out those heading district units and frontal organisations) and tickets to the sitting MLAs should be issued after reviewing their performance in the last five years. The meeting reportedly witnessed heated discussion on setting the parameters. The Committee had a lengthy and heated discussion on Bangalore which has 28 constituencies. In fact, it was because of serious differences among the leaders, the committee was forced to set the parameters, sources said.

Despite setting up four revenue division-wise committees comprising about 10 members each to shortlist the candidates, the selection committee could not shorten the aspirants’ list as per its expectations.

As a result, it decided to recommend a panel of three to five names as probable candidates for each constituency to the screening committee. The party had received about 2,150 applications seeking the tickets.

However, party insiders said, the Committee has been able to finalise candidates for 62 constituencies and most of them are sitting MLAs and senior leaders. On the contentious issue of inducting ‘outsiders,’ the Committee has resolved to leave it to the decision of the high command.

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