Congress Finalises Seats In These States, Announcement Soon

Rahul Gandhi From Wayanad, Bhupesh Baghel From Rajanadgaon Final: Sources

The party will also contest 16 of the 20 seats from Kerala.

New Delhi:

The Congress election committee, in its very first meeting late last evening, has finalised most candidates for six of ten states it was considering. “A formal announcement will be made soon,” said senior party leader KC Venugopal when the meeting finished close to midnight.

“We finalised seats from Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and Lakshadweep… The procedure is going on, formal announcement will be made very soon,” Mr Venugopal told reporters.

Sources said Rahul Gandhi will contest again from his seat Wayanad in Kerala, former Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel from Chhattisgarh’s Rajnandgaon and Jyotsna Mahant from Korba. All the key leaders from Chhattisgarh will be in the fray.

The party will also contest 16 of the 20 seats from Kerala and former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor will be among the candidates, sources said.

In Karnataka, the Congress will not field state ministers, sources said, amid reports that most ministers are unwilling to contest the national elections. Two ministers have gone public with their reservations. Only one minister could be in the running if he decides to contest, sources said.

Among the candidates from the state is state party chief DK Shivakumar’s brother, party MP DK Suresh. No decision has been taken on Kalburgi, the seat of Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge.

The committee will meet again on Monday.

The list that was to be discussed today included Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura, Sikkim and Lakshadweep. The party has left the northeast for the next round.

With the general elections due in summer, the finalisation of candidates has started even though the party is yet to resolve the seat-sharing issue in two crucial states – Maharashtra and Bengal — which together account for 90 seats.

Talks with Maha Vikas Aghadi allies for the 48 seats in Maharashtra is still in progress. In Bengal, the Congress is trying to placate Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who has put her INDIA membership on hold, miffed with the way the seat sharing process was going.

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