Congress vice -president Rahul Gandhi, who earlier described wrong selection of candidates and unplanned campaign as the main reasons for the party’s debacle in last year’s Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, is treading cautiously in Karnataka’s polls.
Presuming that regaining power in Karnataka will set the tone for the 2014 parliamentary polls, the Gandhi family scion has reportedly instructed both the co-ordination committee, headed by Defence Minister A K Antony, and former Goa chief minister Luizinho Faleiro headed the candidates screening panel, to ensure that mistakes committed in Uttar Pradesh should not be repeated in the southern state.
The screening committee, which is likely to announce the first list of candidates by the end of this month or early next month, will meet here for three days from Monday (March 25).
On Rahul’s advice Congress president Sonia Gandhi constituted the screening committee which comprised his handpicked men Faleiro, Union Minister for Sports Jitender Singh and Mistry, sources said.
Faleiro is a confidant of both Sonia Gandhi and Rahul as he was credited with bringing the party to power in three states earlier when he was general secretary.
Jitender Singh, MP from Alwar in Rajasthan, is, the trusted lieutenant of Rahul. Having a clean image in the political circle, both low profile Singh and Faleiro found place in screening committee as well as the Antony headed co-ordination panel, sources added.
Though the screening committee used to be constituted for selection of candidates in the past, it did not have a wider mandate of managing the election.
A senior party leader said this mechanism would reduce uncertainty and ensure greater accountability. The campaign committee will now have its task cut out and the outcome of the poll will also be a test for this new experimentation, sources said.
For state level, the party already constituted two jumbo committees for campaign and manifesto comprising all senior leaders and another one-man panel strategy headed by former Union civil aviation minister C M Ibrahim.