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Congress forms screening panels for TN, WB, Kerala and Puducherry polls


New Delhi, Mar 02: The Congress constituted screening committees for the Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala and West Bengal polls on Tuesday, appointing senior leader Digvijaya Singh as the panel head for Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

Another senior party leader, H K Patil, will chair the panel for Kerala.

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The screening committee of the Congress for the eight-phased West Bengal Assembly polls starting March 27 will have Delhi leader J P Aggarwal as its chairman.

The Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala will be held in a single phase on April 6 and the counting of votes will be taken up on May 2.

"Congress president has constituted the screening committee for the forthcoming Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry with immediate effect, with Digvijaya Singh as its chairman," a statement issued by the party said.

Other members of the panel are former Goa chief minister and Lok Sabha MP Francisco Sardinha and Lok Sabha MP Kodikunnil Suresh.

The other ex-officio members of the committee are AICC in-charge for Tamil Nadu Dinesh Gundu Rao, PCC president of Tamil Nadu K S Alagiri, Puducherry PCC chief AV Subramanian, Tamil Nadu CLP leader KR Ramasamy, former Puducherry chief minister and CLP leader V Narayansamy, besides the AICC secretaries in-charge for Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

"Congress president has constituted the screening committee for the forthcoming Assembly election in Kerala with immediate effect, with H K Patil as its chairman," another statement from the party said.

The other members of the panel for Kerala include Duddilla Sridhar Babu and Praniti Shinde. The ex-officio members of the screening panel include AICC general secretary in-charge Tariq Anwar, PCC president Mullappally Ramachandran and CLP leader Ramesh Chennithala.

Former Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy, who is also the chairman of the party''s Election Management and Strategy Committee, the Kerala PCC chief and the AICC secretaries in-charge for the southern state are also ex-officio members of the panel.

Besides Aggarwal, the other members of the screening committee for West Bengal are Mahesh Joshi and Naseem Khan. The panel also has the state Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president and the AICC in-charge for West Bengal as ex-officio members.

The ex-officio members include AICC in-charge for West Bengal Jitin Prasad, state PCC chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and CLP leader Abdul Mannan, besides the AICC secretaries in-charge for West Bengal.

The Congress is contesting the West Bengal polls in a coalition with the Left parties and the Indian Secular Front (ISF), and has so far decided to contest on 92 seats in the 294-member Assembly.

The panels will screen and select the candidates for the upcoming polls and put forward its recommendations to the Central Election Committee of the Congress chaired by party chief Sonia Gandhi, who would take a final call on the selection of candidates.

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