At a meeting of Congress Election Committee, chaired by party president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday, the list of probable candidates for the three states having 154 seats (80 in UP, 48 in Maharashtra and 26 in Gujarat) figured.

Sources said nearly 30 percent of these seats were discussed by the party's apex decision-making body.

On these seats, the party had received reports from the Scrutiny Committees from the states concerned.

The party has decided not to field any candidate facing any grave criminal charges.

Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, party vice-president Rahul Gandhi are among the top leaders who are members of the committee which decides the nominations.     The first meeting of the CEC had taken place on February 17. The meeting took place a day before Election Commission is to announce the poll dates.

The party had earlier decided to declare the first list of candidates by first week of February.

Early finalization of candidates for elections was a key recommendation of the AK Antony Committee, which Rahul is keen to implement in the general elections.

Party leaders have been maintaining that the nominations for those seats will be finalized early which are at present not with the Congress. The party had won 206 seats in the last Lok Sabha polls.

Candidate selection process has been fast tracked this time unlike in recent decades when the nominees were finalized at the last minute. The idea was to ensure that candidates get least two months' time to prepare for the elections.

In the first CEC meeting, a number of seats in many states including 20 odd in Uttar Pradesh, several in Bihar, Karnataka, Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh as also in Himachal Pradesh and some northeastern states were taken up for finalization. Discussion had taken place for over 100 seats that time.

(Agencies)

Latest News from India News Desk