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Cong poll panel may finalise State list today

By Spl CORRESPONDENT
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NEW DELHI, March 6 � The Central Election Committee of the Congress is scheduled to meet on Friday and Assam is likely to be on the agenda for finalisation of candidates for the Lok Sabha polls.

In a new twist on the eve of the finalisation of the candidates, the AIUDF leadership opened dialogue with top AICC leaders to explore the possibility of seat-sharing arrangements or �friendly contests� in a few seats.

According to sources, the AIUDF has sent feelers to the Congress to explore the possibility of seat-sharing arrangements. The AIUDF is keen on contesting from three Lok Sabha constituencies � Dhubri, Barpeta and Karimganj.

AIUDF president Badruddin Ajmal has been threatening to field candidates in 10 Lok Sabha seats and thereby damage the prospects of the Congress in at least seven of the minority-dominated constituencies.

Ajmal meanwhile, arrived at the national capital on Wednesday and met a cross-section of political leaders belonging to various parties including the Third Front, sources close to him confirmed. However, repeated calls to Ajmal went unanswered.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and PCC president Bhubaneswar Kalita arrived in the capital this evening to take part in the meeting on Friday.

The Congress list of candidates is first likely to be vetted at the meeting of the screening committee headed by Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.

As reported, the Chief Minister had already short-listed candidates in six Lok Sabha constituencies in consultation with AICC general secretary in-charge Dr CP Joshi during vice president Rahul Gandhi�s Assam tour. All the seven sitting MPs have been re-nominated, while for the remaining six seats, the list has been brought down to two, said sources.

Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Pranab Gogoi met Congress president Sonia Gandhi this afternoon. Later, he told newsmen that he has suggested that the Congress should be careful in selecting its candidates in Assam, given the changed circumstances after arrival of Narendra Modi in the scene.

However, sources said that he met the Congress president to seek a seat for his son Samir Gogoi for the Jorhat Lok Sabha seat. He was reportedly advised to work for the Congress and ensure victory of the party�s candidates.

Yesterday, a delegation of Congress MLAs led by Dr Abdul Muhib Mazumdar met the Congress president and expressed their opposition to the Chief Minister�s style of functioning and their side-lining, said sources.

In the morning hours, State Health Minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma met the Congress president and briefed her about the prevailing political situation. Himanta�s group is sulking over their total side-lining during Rahul Gandhi�s Guwahati tour, said sources.

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Cong poll panel may finalise State list today

NEW DELHI, March 6 � The Central Election Committee of the Congress is scheduled to meet on Friday and Assam is likely to be on the agenda for finalisation of candidates for the Lok Sabha polls.

In a new twist on the eve of the finalisation of the candidates, the AIUDF leadership opened dialogue with top AICC leaders to explore the possibility of seat-sharing arrangements or �friendly contests� in a few seats.

According to sources, the AIUDF has sent feelers to the Congress to explore the possibility of seat-sharing arrangements. The AIUDF is keen on contesting from three Lok Sabha constituencies � Dhubri, Barpeta and Karimganj.

AIUDF president Badruddin Ajmal has been threatening to field candidates in 10 Lok Sabha seats and thereby damage the prospects of the Congress in at least seven of the minority-dominated constituencies.

Ajmal meanwhile, arrived at the national capital on Wednesday and met a cross-section of political leaders belonging to various parties including the Third Front, sources close to him confirmed. However, repeated calls to Ajmal went unanswered.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and PCC president Bhubaneswar Kalita arrived in the capital this evening to take part in the meeting on Friday.

The Congress list of candidates is first likely to be vetted at the meeting of the screening committee headed by Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.

As reported, the Chief Minister had already short-listed candidates in six Lok Sabha constituencies in consultation with AICC general secretary in-charge Dr CP Joshi during vice president Rahul Gandhi�s Assam tour. All the seven sitting MPs have been re-nominated, while for the remaining six seats, the list has been brought down to two, said sources.

Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Pranab Gogoi met Congress president Sonia Gandhi this afternoon. Later, he told newsmen that he has suggested that the Congress should be careful in selecting its candidates in Assam, given the changed circumstances after arrival of Narendra Modi in the scene.

However, sources said that he met the Congress president to seek a seat for his son Samir Gogoi for the Jorhat Lok Sabha seat. He was reportedly advised to work for the Congress and ensure victory of the party�s candidates.

Yesterday, a delegation of Congress MLAs led by Dr Abdul Muhib Mazumdar met the Congress president and expressed their opposition to the Chief Minister�s style of functioning and their side-lining, said sources.

In the morning hours, State Health Minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma met the Congress president and briefed her about the prevailing political situation. Himanta�s group is sulking over their total side-lining during Rahul Gandhi�s Guwahati tour, said sources.

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