Sunday, May 19, 2013
Last Updated: 19 May 06:36 AM IST
17 November 2012
KOLKATA, 17 NOV: Mr Rahul Gandhi, heading the Congress' election coordination committee for the next parliamentary election, has sent teams to West Bengal to select probable candidates.
These teams could not have come at a better time, as the state Congress unit is struggling with its back to the wall to fend off efforts by its erstwhile partner the Trinamul Congress to discredit it and challenge its very existence in the state.
Trinamul leaders are enticing Congress legislators to join them. Mr Krishnendu Narayan Choudhury of Malda and Mr Humayun Kabir of Murshidabad have announced their intentions to make the switch. Against this backdrop, the Congress' teams are scouring the districts to get information from the rank and file about probable candidates for the Lok Sabha elections. Congress leaders are taking them to districts, irrespective of whether the party has a firm base in them.
But these "guides" are not part of Mr Gandhi's emissaries' information-gathering process. Collecting data about the Lok Sabha constituencies and probable candidates is a task solely assigned to the representatives of the election coordination committee.
Part of a faction-ridden organisation, Mr Gandhi has been underscoring the need to know the mindsets of the block-level leaders as well as the rank and file.
Mr Gandhi's method of selecting candidates for the Lok Sabha elections seems to be in keeping with his late father Rajiv Gandhi's thinking.
The former prime minister had often railed against leaders riding piggy-back on the efforts of party workers. Mr Gandhi's method of selecting probable candidates does not seem to have unanimous support.
With the senior leaders kept out of the loop, the selection process will be faulty, a senior Congress leader said. The information about the probable candidates will remain incomplete if the views of the senior leaders are ignored, he said.
Moreover, once selected, the candidates might not get the cooperation of the party leadership during the elections. Once the elections are announced, the state leadership is unlikely to work with a party nominee whose candidature it does not approve of.