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For the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the then Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi had identified 16 constituencies across the country where party office-bearers were asked to elect whoever they deemed fit to represent the party. This spared the aspirants’ time and energy usually spent canvassing in Lutyens’ Delhi to influence top party leadership. The experiment was modelled on the primary system in the US.
Writing in the National Herald, the Congress mouthpiece, on Thursday, party Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Gowda pointed this as an evidence of Gandhi's commitment to decentratlisation and devolution of power. However, he also noted that in some seats the experiment exacerbated faction feuds, while in others the office-bearers eventually listened to party bosses. The process, however, did throw up several new leaders, including Gowda himself.