In an unprecedented step, the Congress Vice-President convened a meeting of newly-appointed chairmen of screening committees for all states and UTs to set in motion the process that would reflect the "voice of the people".
Party sources said Rahul told the leaders that while deciding candidates the views of local people should be given prime importance and ordinary party workers should be given their due in the selection. "We are taking the decision about giving tickets in a new way, under a new process... Discussions on it about various states have been taking place within our party for a long time.
We are doing this with a formal structure," he told reporters. He said all tickets will be finalised at the national level "very soon for first time as far as deadline is concerned". Rahul is believed to have underlined the importance of giving weightage to common people in decision making in the political processes including deciding candidates.
He is learnt to have impressed upon the broad parameters of candidate selection like no criminal record against them and an experience of right kind of politics along with winnability. Rahul said the screening committees should start their work by the last week of this month so that the meetings of the Central Election Committee could be possible by first week of next month for finalisation of tickets.
The exercise initiated by Rahul comes in the backdrop of the BJP as well as the AAP speeding up the process of selection of candidates for the polls and setting this month as a deadline. So far, Congress has generally been late in deciding the nominees and sometimes they are declared on the last day of filing nominations giving little time for the candidates to prepare for the battle ahead.
Rahul has entrusted party general secretaries Madhusudam Mistry and C P Joshi the job of deciding modalities for the working of the screening committees.