Senior Congress leader Jagdish Tytler on Thursday withdrew his candidature from Northeast Delhi, where the selection of candidate is being done through primaries for the Lok Sabha polls. In the last Lok Sabha polls too, Tytler had withdrawn his candidature following protests after he was named in a case related to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
With Tytler pulling out of the seat, Rajesh Lilothia, former MLA from Patel Nagar, and sitting MP Jai Prakash Agarwal are now left in the primary race.
“It was felt that Tytler’s nomination could harm the party in the long run and, therefore, he was persuaded to withdraw his candidature,” a senior Congress leader said.
Sources close to Tytler, however, denied that he was persuaded by the party top brass to pull out. “The withdrawal is due to personal reasons,” a source said.
Despite repeated attempts to contact him, Tytler couldn’t be reached for comments.
“It’s Tytler’s right to withdraw his nomination. As of now, there are two candidates in the Northeast primary. Agarwal will be contesting under an ‘aeroplane’ symbol and Lilothia has been allotted a ‘cricket bat’,” Rajpal Bisht, the returning officer for the exercise, said.
An electorate of approximately 350 party workers will vote to select the party candidate for the seat on March 11 after a debate between the two. According to sources, Lilothia — a Dalit leader — is relying on his support base among Youth Congress workers and Dalits to secure the required 51 per cent majority.
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However, he played down the issue of winning, saying he was happy to be part of a process that aims to inject democracy at the grassroots level within the party.