LS candidates by Feb 25, step up heat on Modi: Rahul

Congress president Rahul Gandhi addresses state unit chiefs and Congress Legislature Party leaders meeting, in New Delhi, on Saturday. PTI

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday directed party's state chiefs to finalise the candidates for the Lok Sabha elections within the next fortnight and intensify the campaign against the Modi government.

In a three-hour meeting with state unit chiefs and Congress Legislature Party leaders, Rahul reviewed the situation in every state and tasked them to finalise the alliance in consultation with the AICC general secretary or in-charge concerned and a member of the AICC Alliance Committee.

He also made it clear that the party will not field leaders who have lost two or three consecutive elections and that only one person per family would be fielded as a candidate in the Parliamentary elections.

Also, sitting MLAs or MLCs will not be considered as candidates for the Lok Sabha polls, and exceptions could only be made in certain cases. The state leaders have been asked to give a list of probable candidates by February 25, the first list is expected by month-end.

“... I met with our CLP Leaders & PCC Chiefs from all over India to review our election preparedness & strategy in each state. We discussed a wide range of issues related to the upcoming elections,” Rahul said on Twitter.

Congress sources said a meeting of the Congress Working Committee was expected to be held in Gujarat later this month to welcome the new members to the party's top decision-making body — Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Jyotiraditya Scindia among others.

The meeting is also expected to put its seal of approval on the election campaign, particularly Rahul's pet proposal of minimum income guarantee for the poor.

Saturday's meeting was attended by Chief Ministers V Narayanasami, Ashok Gehlot, Amarinder Singh, Kamal Nath, Bhupesh Baghel, former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah, among others.

In a statement, AICC general secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal said Rahul guided the leaders on candidate selection and finalisation and asked them to take steps to make the process more inclusive and ensure participation of maximum stakeholders of the party.

“He (Rahul) stressed on highlighting in public campaign of the party the burning issues of unemployment, farmers' distress, sabotage of constitutional bodies, misuse of institutions and investigative agencies,” Venugopal said.

He said the Congress president emphasised that the pro-people policies proposed by the Congress such as the minimum income guarantee should be taken to the people across the country.

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