The party’s list of candidates for the 42 parliamentary seats could be ready much before that of other parties, including the Trinamool Congress and CPM, Congress leaders said. The Congress high command has never taken up the exercise at such an early stage. The move comes soon after Rahul Gandhi took over as chairman of the AICC poll committee.
Last week, the AICC sent four emissaries—Jayanta Barua, O P Jindal, Debashish Patnaik and Rajesh Khera — to Bengal. They are touring all the Lok Sabha constituencies spread over the 19 districts, talking to district leaders, assessing the ground reality, strengths of other parties, especially the Trinamool, and most importantly working on a list of candidates.
The emissaries, personally selected by Rahul after consultations with Bengal leaders, have been assigned various districts and will end their tour on November 28. They will submit their reports to Rahul early next month. While Barua has been assigned South Kolkata, Howrah, Tamluk of East Midnapore, Ghatal of West Midnapore and Hooghly, Jindal has been given North Kolkata, South 24 Parganas and Nadia. And while Patnaik has been touring the areas of Jhargram, Purulia, Bankura, Birbhum, Burdwan, Durgapur and Asansol, Khera has been asked to visit north Bengal.
“Our aim is to make assessments, look for strengths and weaknesses, prepare a solid groundwork and see how our party can make a good show in the next parliamentary elections. We will directly report to Rahulji about our findings,’’ Patnaik told The Indian Express. According to sources, the emissaries will prepare a list of prospective candidates after consultation with state leaders.
“We will stay well ahead of other parties so far as poll preparedness is concerned,” Pradip Bhattacharya, West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee president, said.