With Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi keen on early declaration of candidates for Lok Sabha elections, the Congress is understood to have decided to come out with a list of 150 to 200 nominees by the end of this month.
The Lok Sabha elections are likely to be held in April-May and the decision will give at least three months time to the candidates to prepare for the elections.
The exercise of finalising candidates will begin immediately after the All India Congress Committee meeting on January 17, a senior party functionary said.
"The meeting of screening committees to shortlist candidates will begin soon after the AICC meeting and we will be deciding candidates for much more than 100 Lok Sabha seats by the end of January," the AICC functionary closely associated with the exercise said.
The A K Antony panel entrusted with the task of drawing up an action plan for the party for assembly and Lok Sabha a elections few years ago had recommended that the candidates for the elections should be declared at least a few months ahead of the polls.
Efforts to implement the recommendation were made many times, including in the recent assembly election in Madhya Pradesh. However, it could not be done owing to intense rivalry over ticket distribution in the party as well as some apprehension that this could lead to rebel candidates putting up their candidature and getting time to prepare for elections.
Sources said Gandhi is, however, keen that candidates are given sufficient time to prepare for Lok Sabha elections. One of the reasons for the defeat of the party in Madhya Pradesh elections this time has also been attributed to quite late declaration of candidates.