Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
New Delhi/Bhubaneswar, Feb 25:
Even as the screening committee led by Oscar Fernandes is in the process of finalizing candidates for the ensuing Assembly election in the state, hectic lobbying has started within the Congress camp for party tickets with aspirants leaving no stone unturned to impress the party bosses and screening committee chief.
Many aspirants, including some senior leaders, made a beeline for Fernandes’ house in New Delhi after the Pradesh Election Committee (PEC) cleared the names of some aspirants. However, the meeting of the PEC held in New Delhi on Saturday to finalise candidates for the Assembly seats could not shortlist the names of prospective candidates for many seats due to stiff opposition from a section of them. The candidates will be shortlisted in the screening committee and will be forwarded for final approval to Central Election Committee (CEC) headed by Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi, party sources said.
OPCC president Jaydev Jena said the decision on all the 27 seats where the Congress has sitting MLAs will be directly taken up at the meeting of the Screening Committee and the CEC. The party has decided to contest all the 147 Assembly seats on its own.
According to party sources, the PEC has recommended two-three names from each Assembly constituency to the Screening Committee keeping aspirants on tenterhooks.
“I am here to talk with Oscarji about my candidature. Since I have worked for the party and have strengthened the organization in my constituency, I hope to get the ticket to contest in the Assembly election. But the PEC has forwarded another name, who is an outsider, along with my name. The people would not accept any outsider in my constituency,” said an aspirant preferring not to be named.
However, Fernandes said the Screening Committee will hold its meeting to finalise names once he gets the PEC recommendation. The meeting is expected to be held very soon.
The senior Congress leader also informed that candidates for 21 Lok Sabha seats in the state would be declared soon.