2014 LS polls in mind, Congress begins hunt for candidates in state

Picks five observers, of whom two have already begun their job.

AICC has nominated five observers for Gujarat who would collect information about the potential party candidates for the Lok Sabha polls scheduled in 2014.

While two of them have already arrived and begun their work, the other two are likely to land in a few days.

Those who have reached are Gidugu Rudra Raju, a former MLC from Andhra Pradesh, and Anjali Rai, a former MLA from Delhi. Three other observers Manik Jagtap, a former MLA from Maharashtra, Jitendra Deshprabhu, a three-time MLA from Goa, and Ashwani Sikri, sitting MLA from Punjab are about to arrive soon.

Gujarat has 26 Lok Sabha constituencies. While 11 of these are with the Congress, the remaining 15 are with BJP.

According to party sources, these observers have been asked to collect information about the political background of the ticket aspirants, their influence among their constituents and other such details.

Rai, when contacted, said she had started her work, but refused to divulge more. Deshprabhu said he would be reaching Ahmedabad by February 10 and would like to complete his job by February 20. He has been assigned Patan, Gandhinagar, Mehsana, Banaskantha and Sabarkantha seats.

State party spokesperson Manish Doshi said these observers would prepare a list of at least 10 probables for Lok Sabha seats from each of the 26 constituencies and submit it to AICC.

State party president Arjun Modhwadia, who was in Porbandar, said the exercise had been launched in advance to enable the party high command to take a decision about suitable candidates.

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