While sources said the Delhi Congress leadership wants former MPs and Union ministers to contest the upcoming Delhi Assembly polls, rifts within the party continue to threaten its election efforts.
The Congress has asked all aspirants to file their applications by December 20. Delhi Congress chief spokesperson Mukesh Sharma said applicants need to provide their “life histories” and any ongoing cases against them. Sharma also said former MPs and ministers will not have to file applications for candidature.
All former Delhi MPs — including Kapil Sibal, Ajay Maken and Krishna Tirath — were defeated in the Lok Sabha polls this year.
A senior leader said, “There are many in the party who would like senior leaders, MPs and ministers to contest elections. Even though they lost, they still command the respect and love of the people. But ultimately, the decision will be taken by the party high command.”
However, rifts within the party threaten to undermine poll efforts being made by the Delhi unit. Former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit and her son, former East Delhi MP Sandeep Dikshit, were both absent for a workshop on December 3. The workshop was held to collect suggestions for the party’s manifesto.
“She was unhappy about not being informed by the party before being made a member of the election committee. She has also been dissatisfied with the functioning of the Delhi unit,” a senior leader said.
Sandeep Dikshit and Kapil Sibal were also not included in any of the four election committees formed by the party. “Sibal didn’t come for the meeting on December 3 as he had a case. But he has been actively helping the party unit,” the leader said.
Also absent was Seelampur MLA Mateen Ahmed, who was reportedly out of Delhi at the time of the event.
However, a source close to him said, “He is extremely unhappy about the functioning of the Delhi Congress. He does not like the way the unit’s media cell operates as it has been focusing its efforts on Delhi chief Arvinder Singh Lovely and leader Mukesh Sharma.”