Cong wants only winnable candidates

Despite Rahul Gandhi’s vociferous anti-corruption campaign, the Congress has taken recourse to political pragmatism while selecting candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

“Winnability is the only criteria in the selection of candidates,” a senior leader involved in the process said. He was asked whether a leader’s anti-corruption credentials would matter in the process of selection of candidates.

The leader asked when the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and others have no qualms about fielding tainted candidates, why should the Congress be worried.

“Babubhai Bokhiriya continues to be a minister in the Gujarat government despite being convicted by a local court in connection with a mining scam,” he argued.

The Congress is currently involved in the exercise of preparing a shortlist of candidates for all the Lok Sabha constituencies which will be considered by the Central Election Committee chaired by party president Sonia Gandhi.

The Congress plans to announce almost all its candidates by the first week of February, clearly a departure from the earlier practice of holding back the list of nominees till the last date of filing of nominations.

Ahead of the elections, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has adopted “zero-tolerance to corruption” approach by forcing the UPA government to reverse its plans of amending laws to save convicted lawmakers from disqualification. Gandhi had also forced the Maharashtra government to make a U-turn on the Adarsh housing scam issue.

This tough stance has also raised questions over a possible alliance with Lalu Prasad’s RJD in Bihar.

Another leader considered close to Gandhi also said that pragmatism would prevail over morality when it comes to contesting elections. “The aim of a political party is to come to power, rest all comes later,” he said.

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