Priyanka Gandhi with Rahul Gandhi
File photo of Congress president Rahul Gandhi with his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in New Delhi | Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
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Congress wants to focus on candidates below 50 and 40 years as it looks to energise a stagnant Uttar Pradesh unit. 

New Delhi: After handing over key charges in Uttar Pradesh to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, 47, and Jyotiraditya Scindia, 48, the Congress is now looking at giving chances to even younger faces in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

Senior party leaders said that in Uttar Pradesh, the focus of ticket distribution would be on picking candidates below 40 years of age and in a few cases those below 50.

“The process of selecting the candidates has already started at the ground level and the focus will be on those below 40 and 50 years as far as new candidates are concerned,” said a party functionary.

“The party’s focus is to energise the unit and ensure we have more youthful voices with new ideas. We have a young population and those voters will find their voices reflected in such candidates.”

According to a senior party leader, this time around, the central leadership has also given directions that the candidate selection process should seek recommendations from the district level — a practice not usually followed by the party.

This was decided during a core committee meeting of the party held earlier this month.

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Also read: By choosing Modi & Yogi’s turf, Priyanka signals she’s a dynast with a difference

UP Congress to take inputs from district units

The Uttar Pradesh Congress, for instance, will take inputs from the district unit presidents before finalising candidates for the Lok Sabha elections. “These names will be sent to the CEC and a final decision will be taken accordingly,” said a party functionary.

Another party functionary told ThePrint that even as Priyanka and Scindia are yet to take formal charge and plan the strategy for Uttar Pradesh, Congress president Rahul Gandhi has already indicated that the focus of candidate selection as far as new candidates are concerned should be on “young and energetic” leaders.

With the Congress left out of the alliance between the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party, Gandhi had said on 12 January that it will contest on all 80 parliamentary seats.

“We are not going to be on the back-foot as our president has also said,” said a senior Congress leader. “We are looking at forging an alliance with smaller parties and will leave 10-15 seats for them.”

Also read: Sibling support, not sibling rivalry behind Priyanka Gandhi joining Rahul’s Congress

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