Congress to test poll aspirants


New Delhi: Following Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s model of choosing officials of the Youth Congress and NSUI, the party has decided to test the knowledge of poll ticket aspirants before nominating them to fight the elections.
Rahul Gandhi is said to be against the practice of imposing candidates from New Delhi against the recommendations of the state and district Congress committees.
A Congress office-bearer said that Gandhi wants the ticket aspirants to fill a five-page application form which tests their knowledge about their constituency and also asks for an assessment of the Congress’s performance there.
The Pradesh Congress Committees (PCCs) and District Congress Committees (DCCs) will have decisive say in the selection of candidates for Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Delhi going to the polls in the next couple of months.
“This is the Karnataka model of shortlisting the candidates,” said a Congress insider. The Karnataka model of selection of candidates has not only led to the defeat of the  ruling BJP but is also checking the Janata Dal (Secular).
The state units know better the elective merit of candidates rather than the AICC’s central election committee. Block, district and state units are the three important components in the process of shortlisting candidates. 
And this is the democratic way of shortlisting candidates, the party feels.
Congress monitoring TV channels, papers
The Congress has started monitoring news of television channels and e-papers ahead of the electoral battles in states and the Lok Sabha elections.
This exercise will help the party to know whether the electronic and print media is strictly following professional standards or going with some agenda, insiders said. The party’s strategy to focus on the social media has checked the BJP's propaganda to some extent.
BJP’s Prime Ministerial aspirant and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is said to be using the social media against the Congress and its top leadership with the help of professionals outside the BJP. 
The Congress is training its team of spokespersons across the country by holding workshops on different issues.

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