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Cong plays for consensus

Shillong, Dec. 4: The Congress leadership appears to be reluctant to declare who is the “fairest of them all” in a bid to stem rebellion in its camp ahead of the crucial 2013 Assembly elections.

Last month, the Congress’s state election committee declared that there has been a consensus regarding candidates in 46 out of the 60 constituencies for the February-March 2013 polls.

The party, however, is yet to decide on the fate of the aspirants in the remaining 14 constituencies. However, Congress sources said the final list of candidates would not be ready until Christmas is over.

“The delay is deliberate in order to prevent rebels from coming out to throw in their hat into the electoral ring, as this could affect the prospects of the eventual party candidate. The fairest of them all will be declared at a time when there will be little room left for rebels to cause any upset,” the Congress source added.

The decision on six constituencies was kept in abeyance, while a two-member panel had been constituted to decide on candidates for the remaining eight.

All the names would then be sent to the central screening committee led by Dhaniram Shandil, AICC general secretary in charge of Meghalaya. “There has been intense infighting in some of the constituencies where no consensus has been arrived at. This has retarded the entire process,” the source said.

The source also said the hurdle for the party will not be rivals from other political parties. The adversaries could be those within the Congress fold. “That makes our efforts to secure a landslide victory more arduous,” the source said.

The Congress has been claiming that it would come back to power with absolute majority, although Meghalaya has always voted for a hung Assembly.

Whether the ruling party can stem the rot and emerge unscathed from prospective bouts of rebellion remains to be seen. It will depend on who is named the fairest of them all.