The Congress will give tickets to ”winnable” candidates in Rajasthan and there will be no age bar or ”recommendation system”, the party’s state in charge Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said on Wednesday.
”We will give tickets to winnable candidates. If someone is elderly in our home, do we throw them out saying that they have grown old so move out,” he told reporters here, while replying to queries.
The Congress leader also said the party is not afraid of action by the Enforcement Directorate. The agency had on Monday carried out searches at several places in the state in connection with a money laundering probe in the paper leak case.
Randhawa met several state ministers and MLAs here on Wednesday as part of interactions to take feedback about issues related to government and party organisation.
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The meetings came amid attempts by the party’s central leadership to broker peace between Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and dissident leader Sachin Pilot ahead of assembly polls due later this year.
Replying to a question on the criteria for ticket distribution, Randhawa told reporters, ”You must have seen in Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh that the ‘recommendation system’ did not work.
”So, it will not come in Rajasthan as well. There cannot be an age cut-off in politics. We keep the youths along and push them forward.” On the Enforcement Directorate action, he said, ”We are not afraid of the ED. In Karnataka where BJP had a humiliating defeat, our deputy chief minister (D K Shivakumar) was put into jail. Despite this, people did not vote for them. Be it ED, CBI, or IT, we will cope with them all. We are not afraid.” Randhawa said that ”discussion will be done on those who have lost election two times”.
Reacting to the statement of Congress MLA Bharat Singh that youths should be brought forward, Randhawa said, ”Those who have grown old should themselves sacrifice. It is needless to mention.” He said that those who are suggesting this should set an example.
He said that the party is in election mode and he is here to take feedback from leaders on their departments, constituencies, issues and demands.
He said that ministers are participating in the interaction ”with an open mind”.
The state-in-charge on Wednesday met ministers Mamta Bhupesh, Saleh Mohammad, Govind Meghwal and Murari Lal Meena. MLA Krishna Poonia and several former MLAs also met Randhawa.
Randhawa arrived here on Tuesday evening amid speculation over Pilot’s next move, with sources close to the former deputy chief minister saying that the meeting Pilot and Gehlot had with party chief Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi last week did not result in any resolution of ”core issues” between the two Rajasthan leaders.
The sources had said Pilot was firm on his demands, including action against alleged corruption during the previous Vasundhara Raje government, and was waiting for a definitive response from the party high command.
Replying to queries, Randhawa had on Tuesday ruled out the possibility of Pilot floating a new party. He also said that the party will assign responsibilities to Rajasthan leaders according to their stature.
He reiterated that both Rajasthan leaders ”agreed to work unitedly” during their meeting with Kharge and Rahul Gandhi, claiming that 90 per cent of the matter was resolved and the rest was also ”not an issue”.
Gehlot and his former deputy have been engaged in a power tussle since the Congress formed government in the state in 2018.
There are suggestions that Pilot may give a clear indication about his way forward on June 11 when he marks his father’s death anniversary in Dausa.