By Sanjeev Singh
New Delhi: Maintaining a mix of young faces and denying tickets to some sitting MP’s to keep the broth ready for elections, the Congress today tried to do the balancing act in its third list.
The start of the third list gave an indication that Congress may finally be getting its act together. Rahul Gandhi’s promise of giving tickets to youth saw the first name in Ketan Patel from Daman and Diu. The 39-year-old has been active in the region and is the son of former MP Dayabhai Patel who lost the 2009 elections. He was also the first NSUI and IYC President of the Congress of Daman and Diu.
"I’m happy that Rahul Gandhi has reposed faith in young India by giving me a ticket. The youth is very happy here and it will translate into a landslide win for the party," said Ketan.
In Gujarat, senior leader and cabinet Minister Dinsha Patel gave in to the high command and has been fielded from his seat Kheda. His name not making it in the first list had tongues wagging about his reluctance to contest again. A young face, Paranjay Adityasinh Parmar has been fielded from Panchmahal. The 39-year-old was MLA from Santrampur in 2007 Assembly and was widely expected to get the ticket. He is also married to Congress stalwart and former CM of MP, Digvijaya Singh’s daughter. The Vadodara seat was won by the city unit president Narendra Rawat in the primaries. Senior leader and national spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil said, "There is more hype than substance in BJP’s claims of development in Gujarat. These elections will show how people will vote for Congress so that real change can take place in the state."
Former chief minister Ajit Jogi and sitting MP has been renominated from Mahasamund in Chhattisgarh while another star son Ajay Singh (Rahul Bhaiya) gets the ticket from his father’s (late Arjun Singh) erstwhile seat of Satna in Madhya Pradesh. Maharashtra sees the party trying to shake off the old guard in an attempt to change. State minister Patangrao Kadam’s son got a ticket from Pune. Congress strongman Suresh Kalmadi has represented this seat thrice for the party and has managed to keep the NCP at bay despite their overwhelming dominance in the region. It will be an uphill task for Kadam to repeat his predecessor’s performance who has been sacrificed due to his role in the CWG scam that saw him go to jail in 2011. The other interesting fact is state ministers Rajendra Gavit and Sanjay Deotale being given tickets from Palghar and Chandrapur to show how serious the party is about winning each seat in these Lok Sabha elections.
"The party always had a balanced approach about selecting candidates. Rahul has his own way of doing things and this list shows how a healthy balance has been maintained between the youth and candidates with a good track record in the Assembly," said Akhilesh Pratap Singh, national spokesperson of Congress.
This impression is echoed even more clearly in Rajasthan where the party has denied tickets to Union Minister Namo Narain Meena and sitting MP Lalchand Kataria in the state. Cricketer turned politician Azharuddin makes the cut from Meena’s seat of Tonk-Sawai Madhopur which has a sizeable Muslim population, while Meena is likely to be accommodated from Dausa. Rajasthan Congress Chief Sachin Pilot will contest from his Ajmer seat while Cabinet Minister and close aide of Rahul Gandhi, CP Joshi has been given a "safe" seat from Kataria’s Jaipur Rural. Joshi was a non-starter from his current seat of Bhilwara, a seat that has gone to Ashok Chandna, the Rajasthan Youth Congress President. Party has also changed its candidates from Churu and Pali Lok Sabha seats as well.
Delhi sees the sitting MP’s retain their seats on five out of seven while West and Outer Delhi are still under consideration. Even though the party has its back against the wall with AAP and BJP on the ascendance, the party is not giving up yet. "Congress is the only party that gives priority to the needs of the people. Other parties (AAP) have already been exposed while others will be exposed soon. People are smart enough to see through the hollow promises made by these parties," said East Delhi MP Sandeep Dikshit.
Updated Date: Mar 19, 2014 07:55 AM