MP polls: wary Cong may not release candidates list

Congress president Rahul Gandhi. (PTI File Photo)

Having faced desertions by party leaders on poll eve, the Congress is treading cautiously by not making public its list of candidates for the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections.

The Congress leaders have stepped up consultations over and plan to finalise its list of candidates who would seek to topple the 15-year-old BJP government in the state.

“The list of candidates is likely to be finalised by this month-end, but we may not make it public,” AICC general secretary Deepak Babaria told DH.

Babaria’s concerns about the BJP poaching potential candidates is not without reason.

Ahead of the Assembly elections in 2013, senior Congress leaders Sanjay Pathak and Dinesh Ahirwar, BSP leaders Parasram Mudgal, Radhelal Baghel and Mahendra Singh, and Loktantrik Samajwadi Party leader Rakesh Shukla joined the BJP.

In 2014, the Congress declared the candidature of former IAS officer Bhagirath Prasad for the Lok Sabha elections, but he dumped his party to join the BJP. Prasad went on to win the Lok Sabha polls from Bhind.

Besides, Babaria said the Congress would also not like to expose its cards by making its candidate public which may allow the BJP to put up a better challenger by working out the caste arithmetic.

"We will inform the selected candidates individually so that they can start their campaign. But on some seats, candidates could be declared on the last day of filing of nomination papers," he added.

However, a section within the Congress views the move with scepticism arguing that it may make things difficult for the candidate in mounting an effective campaign.

The Congress is yet to finalise its pre-poll alliances for Madhya Pradesh. State Congress president Kamal Nath is holding talks with leaders of the Gondwana Ganatantra Party and the BSP for a pre-poll alliance.

The talks with the BSP are stuck over the huge number of seats demanded by Mayawati, who is looking to expand her outfit beyond its stronghold of Uttar Pradesh.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi is expected to launch the party’s campaign in Bhopal either on September 15 or September 17.​

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MP polls: wary Cong may not release candidates list

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