8 Mar 2024

Lok Sabha Elections-2024: Cong finalises candidates for most seats in 6 states; Rahul Gandhi, Bhupesh Baghel may contest from these seats

New Delhi: Ahead of Lok Sabha Elections-2024, in its inaugural meeting late Thursday night, the Congress election committee concluded the selection of candidates for six out of ten states under consideration. Senior party leader KC Venugopal announced, "A formal announcement will be made soon," after the meeting concluded close to midnight.

"We finalized seats from Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, and Lakshadweep... The process is ongoing, and a formal announcement will be made very soon,"  Venugopal told reporters.

All key leaders from Chhattisgarh expected to be in electoral fray

Sources indicate that Rahul Gandhi will once again contest from his Wayanad seat in Kerala, while former Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel is set for Rajnandgaon in Chhattisgarh, and Jyotsna Mahant from Korba. All key leaders from Chhattisgarh are expected to be in the electoral fray.

Shashi Tharoor among candidates in Kerala

The party is also poised to contest 16 out of the 20 seats in Kerala, with former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor among the candidates, as per sources.

Cong will not field state ministers in Karnataka

In Karnataka, sources reveal that the Congress will not field state ministers due to reported unwillingness among most ministers to participate in the national elections. Two ministers have publicly expressed reservations, and only one minister may run if he decides to contest, according to sources. 

Among the candidates from the state is the brother of state party chief DK Shivakumar, party MP DK Suresh. No decision has been made on Kalburgi, the seat of Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge. The committee is scheduled to reconvene on Monday.

Party has deferred discussions on northeast 

The agenda for today's meeting included the states of Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura, Sikkim, and Lakshadweep. The party has deferred discussions on the northeast for a subsequent round.

Seat-sharing issue unresolved in two key states

With general elections looming in the summer, the candidate finalization process has commenced, even as the party grapples with the unresolved seat-sharing issue in two pivotal states – Maharashtra and Bengal – which jointly account for 90 seats.

Negotiations with Maha Vikas Aghadi allies for the 48 seats in Maharashtra are still ongoing. In Bengal, the Congress is working to assuage Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who has put her INDIA membership on hold, expressing displeasure with the ongoing seat-sharing process.

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