Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Friday directed party leaders of five election-bound states to keep candidates with criminal background out.
Mr Gandhi, who met party general secretaries in-charge and the chairmen of the screening committees for Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram, discussed the party strategy for the Assembly polls in these states which are due this year.
Sources said Mr Gandhi told these leaders to ensure the party does not give tickets to people who have proven criminal background and against whom the courts have already passed strictures.
The move assumes significance as it comes in the wake of recent court orders aimed at stopping criminalisation of politics, some of which have created quite a stir among the political parties.
Mr Gandhi also told the leaders that it was important that the block Congress in all these states have a larger say in the selection of candidates as they are more related to their MLAs and know more about them. This is being seen in accordance with Mr Gandhi's stand that candidates should not be decided from Delhi or the state headquarters but that the decision-making should percolate down.
Sources said that the meeting discussed the "process, procedure, general and guidelines" for various activities that take place during the elections.
AICC general secretary in-charge for Delhi Shakeel Ahmed could not attend the meeting as he was abroad but all others including B K Hariprasad (Chhattisgarh), Mohan Prakash (Madhya Pradesh), Gurudas Kamath (Rajasthan) and Luizinho Falerio (Mizoram) attended it.
C P Joshi, who is the in-charge of the screening committee for Chhattisgarh, V Narayanasamy for Delhi, Ajay Maken for Rajasthan and Madhusudan Mistri for Madhya Pradesh were also in the meeting along with all members the screening committees and AICC secretaries in-charges of the states.