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Over 3,000 seeking Congress tickets in Haryana

By Our Special Correspondent

CHANDIGARH, DEC.27. Nearly 3,130 aspirants have filed applications for the Congress ticket for the 90 Haryana Assembly constituencies which go to the polls on February 3.

According to the working president of the Haryana unit, Randeep Singh Surjewala, a meeting of the Election Committee was postponed till December 30 though its members today evolved a set of criteria which would apply to the contestants.

While stating that he had not so far applied for the party ticket, he openly expressed his desire to re-contest from the Narwana constituency against the Chief Minister and Indian National Lok Dal supremo, Om Prakash Chautala, if the party high command so desired.

Mr.Surjewala asserted that the Congress ticket would be given to those candidates who had a proven track record of loyalty and merit.

Those who had lost the last two consecutive Vidhan Sabha polls in 1996 and 2000 would not be given tickets.

The same criteria would apply to those aspirants who lost their security deposit even once. Due representation would be given to women, backward classes, scheduled castes and youth while giving tickets.

He clarified that these criteria would not apply to those who had merged their respective party units with the Congress recently including the Republican Party of India, Nationalist Congress Party and the Haryana Vikas Party.

The winnability of the candidate would also be a major criteria, he added.

Meanwhile, addressing a press conference here, the Rohtak MP, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, said that he was an aspirant to the Chief Minister's post but not a "claimant.''

While stating that he had not applied for the Vidhan Sabha ticket from his traditional constituency of Kiloi, he said that he would abide by the party high command's decision whether to field him for the Assembly or not. In case the party wanted him to continue as MP, no one from his family would be in the race for the Assembly in his place.

While charging that the Chautala regime was violating the directives of the Election Commission blatantly, he alleged that proclaimed offenders were being "released'' to create law and order situation.

He announced that a Jan Hit Manch would be organising a massive rally at Rohtak on January 3 and he would be the Chief Guest there.

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