Maken's constituency to witness contest under Cong primaries

Cong primaries to be implemented
New Delhi, Feb 22:  New Delhi Lok Sabha constituency, represented by Ajay Maken, will soon witness a contest under the "primaries" project being experimented by Congress to allow grassroots workers to choose candidates for the coming general elections.

Under the experiment, an exercises starting with compilation of a voters' list comprising office bearers of various units of Congress will be made.

A draft voters' list would be released on February 24 and interested candidates may file their nominations till February 27, after which, the election date would be announced, Netta D'Souza, the returning officer for the exercise, told reporters here.

"In the first phase, the primaries project has been started for the New Delhi Lok Sabha seat. The project will soon be launched in the North-East Lok Sabha constituency as well. "With this project, local party workers can choose their Lok Sabha candidates," said D'Souza.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi had floated the idea of holding primaries in 15 constituencies in the country. One more seat was added later. North East Lok Sabha seat is at present represented by Jai Prakash Agarwal. Gandhi's proposal aims at empowering the grassroots workers by allowing them a say in the selection of candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. D'Souza said that voters and candidates with criminal background would be kept out of the project.

With this project, local party workers can choose their Lok Sabha candidates

She said that the traditional process of choosing candidates- involving the Central Election Committee and the Pradesh Congress Committee-did not ensure involvement of local office bearers.

"Office bearers of NSUI, Congress Mahila Sangathan, Vyapar Mandal and Zilla Parishads can register themselves as voters for the same at the website,," said Hari Shankar Gupta, Delhi's in-charge for the project.

Besides, MLAs, MLCs, MPs, national office bearers of AICC/departments (SC, ST, OBC and Minorities) and current chairpersons of district-level associations of doctors (IMA), dentists (IDA), CAs (ICA), bar associations, engineers, traders, etc. may also sign up as voters, Gupta added.

Asked if Congress was following Aam Aadmi Party in launching the project, D'Souza said that AAP had not planned or implemented any such project.


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