Ahead of the election in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress Party has come up with a unique new way to both raise party funds and seek "serious" candidates for the polls. The party has asked prospective candidates to shell out Rs 11,000 each by September 25 as a deposit to the party along with the application seeking a party ticket. 

The party had invited applications from prospective candidates last week after a two-day-long brainstorming session helmed by its national general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

"All applicants should submit their applications with the authorised persons at the district/state level along with a 'sahyog rashi (contribution amount)' of Rs 11,000 by September 25, 2021," an order issued on Tuesday by Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) president Ajay Kumar Lallu said.

Explaining the decision to ask for the 'contribution amount', party spokesperson Ashok Singh said the move is meant to screen out candidates who are not serious.

A senior party office-bearer said that with the start of the nomination process, people who are not serious are casting their lot in the fray too, creating unnecessary problems.

There is nothing new in seeking contribution, he said.

"All opposition parties take it as a deposit in their party accounts, some even take huge amounts personally for allotting tickets and are notorious for it," he claimed.

UPCC media convenor Lalan Kumar said the step has been taken to improve the election process and finalisation of candidates.

"Everything is transparent, the amount will be deposited in the UPCC fund and no individual is asking for it," he added.

The order said the amount can deposited through RTGS, demand draft or pay order, and a receipt will be issued.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra arrived in the state capital last week to review preparations for the elections and held long meetings with several party leaders, office bearers, and functionaries zone-wise.

Being actively led by her this time, the Congress hopes to swing its fortune in the state.

The party had won only seven seats out of 403 in the state elections held in 2017.
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