Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Jan 20:
Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president Jayadev Jena on Monday said the Pradesh Election Committee (PEC) has already prepared a short list of possible candidates for the coming parliamentary elections.
Asked about the names in the short list, however, the PCC chief refused to go beyond saying; “The names have been chosen on the basis of their winnability.”
“The PEC has already drawn up a short list of candidates for the Lok Sabha elections and it will be submitted to the central leadership well in time,” Jena said. “Congress is a mass-based party and has to accommodate the aspirations of all sections in society,” he added.
Having outlined its roadmap for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections at the just concluded AICC meeting, the Congress party has asked PCC chief Jayadev Jena to recommend the names of possible candidates for the 21 Lok Sabha constituencies in Odisha by January 25 so that the names of party candidates can be declared well before the polls scheduled to be held in April/May this year.
The recommended list of names will be screened by the screening committee headed by Oscar Fernandes, who has been made Chairman for the panel in Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, before it goes for the final approval of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, party sources said.
The screening committee will have five members including AICC general secretary in-charge of the state, PCC chief and CLP leader and one more member. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s close aide Meenakshi Natarajan has been included as member for the panel in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha.
The party is likely to announce its first list of candidates for 204 Lok Sabha seats in February. Since Lok Sabha elections are likely to be held in April-May, the decision will give at least two months’ time to the candidates to prepare for the elections, the sources said.
The PCC chief, the leader of the opposition, Union Minister Srikant Jena, Prasad Harichandan, Pradip Majhi, Niranjan Patnaik and several other senior leaders are members of the PEC, which has 13 members and five special invitees.