Parul Arya & Kaushik Kumar
It was one of the two seats in Delhi where primaries — Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s ambitious project to select LS candidates — were to be held to make the party more democratic. But on Thursday, when the nomination process for the New Delhi parliamentary constituency concluded, there was only one name — sitting MP Ajay Maken.
Maken, the current general secretary and close aide to Rahul Gandhi, himself requested the party to include New Delhi seat in the list of primaries as this would help grassroot workers to select their own candidates.
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Congress ex-MLA Kiran Walia said, “Ajay Maken is the sitting MP and he should be given a chance. Other party workers might have thought the same and, hence, they refrained from filing nominations.”
BJP MLA Subash Sachdeva said, “When the party (Congress) is all set to lose, who would want to come forward to contest.”
Presently, in the New Delhi constituency, the Congress has no sitting MLA. The AAP had won eight and BJP two seats in the Assembly elections held last December.
Congress ex-MLA Mukesh Sharma said, “Maken is a popular and undisputed leader and the primary members must have thought that he is the best choice.” The selection through primaries had been publicised through press conferences and assembly meetings after Rahul announced it at the AICC session at Talkatora Stadium last month.
The returning officer for the exercise Netta D’Souza said, “The election is to be held on March 6 but as there is only one candidate, there will be no voting. However, there will be a convention.”
She said if there will be no objection to the candidature, the name will be proposed to the Central Election Commission. However, if there are objections, the matter will go to former chief election commissioners K J Rao and James Michael Lyngdoh for further scrutiny.
The returning officer for the Northeast Delhi parliamentary constituency Pankaj Guddewar said he was expecting more nominations for the NE seat.
(Reporters are students of EXIMS, Delhi)