The call for an interview to only a few candidates out of the total for the post of Dhanbad Congress district president by the state committee has triggered a protest from rank and file in the party.
A total of 31 candidates filed nominations for the post in front of the Assistant Returning Officer (ARO) Bhavesh Choudhary last week. But only 13 candidates have been called for the interview scheduled at Ranchi today.
The applicants, who have not been invited for an interview, expressed surprise and said that they are unaware of the reason why their nomination was rejected. They claimed that a pick-and-choose selection process was used to choose the candidates for interviews.
The 13 candidates among the total of 31, who have been called for an interview are working president Ravindra Verma, Santosh Singh, Shamsher Alam, Mukhtar Khan, Lalan Choubey, Madan Mahto, Sultan Ahmed, Vaibhav Sinha, Ashok Singh, Rashid Raja, Ramprit Prasad, Manoj Singh and Pankaj Mishra.
One of the senior Congress leader Suresh Chandra Jha, who had filed the nomination but has not been called for an interview, has lodged a protest to the AICC general secretary cum Jharkhand in charge Avinash Pande and state president Rajesh Thakur about it. Jha is considered the most senior among the 31 candidates. He has been associated with the party since 1980.
“I have not been informed about the reason on which ground my nomination has been rejected. Some of the candidates who have been called for the interview have little contribution to party organization. They even did not attend any dharna programme ever but have been called by the state committee,” said Suresh Chandra Jha.
Another candidate Prabhat Surelia, the district traders’ cell president, expressed surprise over the basis of scrutiny for the interview. “I am not behind in the qualification of any candidates who have been called for the interview. I have the experience of running the organization and participating in party programmes. But it seems that in lack of a godfather in the party, my name was not considered for the interview,” he said.
Surelia said traders are the weak point of Congress. ”I would have associated them on a large scale, had the party given me the responsibility,” he said.
Outgoing district president Brajendra Prasad Singh said that different parameters have been set for calling the interview candidates. One of the major parameters is who added the maximum number of members to the party.
Brajendra Singh, who has been the district president for the last 10 years, said that it is the time for change and that is why he opted his name out of the race. “I have duly informed Delhi and Ranchi to not consider my name,” he said.
A senior Congress leader Anil Pandey, who has been associated with the party since 1973, said that he does not believe that all criteria would be followed in the selection of the Dhanbad district president at last. He further added that for transparency in selection, the state leaders should have cleared the reason for the rejection of the candidates. “Such process would create dissension in the organization,” he said.