Congress election panel meet to pick Lok Sabha candidates today

The panel, chaired by president Sonia Gandhi which also has Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi as its members, will decide candidates for a number of seats where the processes have been completed.

Early finalisation of candidates for elections was a key recommendation of the AK Antony Committee, which Rahul Gandhi is keen to implement in the coming general elections in April-May. The party plans to finalise most of the candidates by this month-end.

Party sources said meetings of central screening committees for several states have already been held to shortlist the candidates, setting the stage for taking the selection exercise in higher gear. A meeting of the screening committee of Maharashtra was held on Tuesday after Congress and NCP finalilsed seat-sharing for the state.

Meetings of the election committees in the states have concluded last month and several Pradesh election committees passed one-line resolution authorising Sonia Gandhi Rahul to finalise the nominees.

Candidate selection process has been fast tracked this time unlike in recent decades when the nominees were finalised at the last minute. Since Lok Sabha elections are to be held in April-May, the decision will give at least two months time to the candidates to prepare for the elections. .
The candidate selection exercise was made pro-active by the party after the AICC meeting on 17 January. Sources said Rahul is keen that candidates are given sufficient time to prepare for the elections.
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