Congress workers allege nepotism in ticket distribution

November 7th, 2008 - 4:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Jaipur, Nov 7 (IANS) Congress activists in Rajasthan are angry with their leaders, accusing them of selecting sons and relatives of heavyweights to contest the coming assembly elections.Since Oct 30, when the party started naming its candidates for the Dec 4 battle to pick a 200-seat assembly, furious members and supporters have ransacked Congress offices in Jaipur, Kota and Bhilwara. In other parts of the state, there is pressure on the leadership to change the candidates.

On Wednesday night, party workers in Tonk staged a violent protest against allotment of ticket to Zakiya, a former minister in the Ashok Gehlot cabinet.

“We will continue our agitation till she is replaced,,” Jagdish Lahen Gujjar, a Congress member from Tonk, told IANS. Zakiya lost the last 2003 election from Tonk constituency to Mahaveer of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

In the outgoing assembly, the ruling BJP has 121 legislators and the Congress 53.

While the Congress has declared 146 candidates and is likely to announce the rest of the names within a few days, sources say the leadership may be forced to change contestants in a couple of seats.

There is no opposition to former chief minister Ashok Gehlot and state Congress president C.P. Joshi representing their home constituencies Sardarpura and Nathdwara or former ministers B.D. Kalla and Shanti Dhariwal contesting from Bikaner (West) and Kota (North).

But there is objection is to Sanjay Pahadia - son of former chief minister Jagannath Pahadia - being nominated as the Congress candidate from Weir constituency.

There is also opposition to Brijendra Singh Ola - son of central minister Sis Ram Ola - being the candidate from Jhunjhunu. Similarly, there is resentment against Kuldeep Indora - son of senior Congress leader Hira Lal Indora. The junior Indora has been named the candidate from Anoopgarh.

The party has also nominated Braj Kishore Sharma, son of Gujarat Governor Nawal Kishore Sharma, from Hawa Mahal. Mahendra Singh, nephew of Pondicherry Governor Govind Gingh Gurjar, inherited his home constituency Nasirabad.

Rajasthan’s former minister Khet Singh Rathore’s nephew Umed Singh Rathore is contesting from Shergarh. All these nominations are sources of discontent in the party.

“It is a clear case of favouritism. The nominations have not been given to party workers. Outsiders connected to senior leaders have managed to get ticket. The party must reconsider the list. Otherwise our party will lose the elections,” said Shahida, a Congress activist from Jaipur.

A Congress leader who did not want to be identified refuted the charge. “There has not been any discrimination or favouritism. Candidates have been picked depending on their winning ability.”

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