Congress selection of candidates in Bihar: Self-defeating strategy?

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Choice of seats and award of tickets by the Congress have given birth to anger and frustration and have spilt over in Bihar ahead of the assembly elections. Many senior leaders have questioned the process of seat negotiations with the allies and selection of candidates, alleging that the party was on a self-defeating course by encouraging nepotism and relying on the interpersonal relationships among other factors to decide candidates.

Well, no wonder why “nepotism” has become so infamous these days. Everyone is indulged in it and the word is being misused causing an imbalance everywhere around. The political turmoil is well visible in Bihar and has mounted protests all over the region.

Congress selection of candidates in Bihar: Self-defeating strategy?

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Senior Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) said, “The party had the chance to ride high on the anti-incumbency wave and restore its traditional support base among upper casts, minorities, and the scheduled casts, but favourable outcomes appear to be a distant dream particularly in the current scenario.”

Soon after the Congress announced the candidates for the second and the third phase of polling, due on 5th and 7th November, former BPCC chief Chandan Bagchi said that the party’s strategy appeared to be self-defeating. Bagchi quoted that “The selection of candidates for the rest two phases was worse than the first. Leaders have been allotted constituencies where they are not familiar with. None of the senior leaders of the state was consulted regarding the selection of candidates.”

Just after Bagchi’s comment over the selection strategy another BPCC leader; said that the party had erred in surrendering sitting; and potentially winnable seats to allies. Requesting anonymity he quoted that “Seats like Bachhwara, Manjhi, Govindpur, Bhore; among others, which elected Congress leaders in the last elections; have been handed over to the Left parties and the RJD. Additionally, the Congress drew blank in districts like Bhojpur; and Jehanabad despite the availability of strong candidates and winning potential.”

The selection of the candidates has compounded the problem for party workers. Leaders like Pravin Kushwaha, Gunjan Patel, Sanjeev Kumar; Nagendra Paswan Vikal have been named as candidates for the constituencies where they hardly worked for election purposes.

Kushwaha had been allotted Patna City instead of Sultanganj, Patel has been accommodated at Nalanda against his demand for Digha (Patna); Sanjeev is contesting from Vaishali against his crave for Paroo (Muzaffarpur); and Vikal is contesting from Rosera (Samastipur) eve as he worked hard in Patna.

Another senior party leader Kishor Kumar Jha said, “The party had not confronted such a situation; when the selection of almost all candidates is under a cloud; for some reason or the other.” He added further, “Candidates with criminal antecedents and turncoats have been preferred over-committed workers; owing to weak leadership in the state; and inefficiency of the AICC team. Nepotism and interpersonal relationship built on extraneous considerations; ruled the roost in the selection of candidates.”

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