The Central Election Committee (CEC) of the Congress on Wednesday cleared about 140 names for the first three phases of assembly elections in Bihar. The meeting, chaired by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, finalised the names after discussing threadbare the strengths and weakness of candidates.
The CEC, is the apex body of Congress to decide candidates for elections after the Screening Committee and the Pradesh Election Committee. Congress is going it alone in the state and contesting all the 243 seats after several years. The party has been out of power in the state for the last last 20 years. The party’s screening committee headed by AICC general secretary B K Hariprasad had a series of meetings to finalise a list of 2-3 candidates for each of the constituencies.
Bihar Congress president Mehboob Ali Kaiser, Congress legislature party leader Ashok Ram and former MP Ramdeo Rai are among those whose names figure in the first list to be out in the next two days, party sources said.
Having been out of power in Bihar since 1989 and reduced to a marginal force over the years, the Congress is exploring different strategies and caste equations to emerge as a formidable force. It is reaching out to all the castes and communities to make a comeback.
The party has also kept caste considerations in their minds while selecting the candidates. Caste demographics play a dominant role in Bihar politics.