Fielding 17 new faces, the Congress Saturday announced the names of 54 of 70 candidates who will be contesting the February 8 Assembly polls. While some senior leaders and councillors have been given a chance to contest, the party has made changes to 42 seats.
Among the new faces are Delhi Congress chief Subhash Chopra’s daughter Shivani Chopra, who will contest from Kalkaji, and Youth Congress leader Radhika Khera from Janakpuri. In the 2015 polls, Khera was looking after the party’s campaign on various social media platforms.
Former AAP leader Alka Lamba, who had rejoined Congress last year, has been given a ticket from Chandni Chowk — pushing aside senior leader J P Agarwal’s bid to contest from the seat.
Prominent faces in the first list included Haroon Yusuf from Ballimaran; Adarsh Shastri from Dwarka; Rajesh Lilothia from Mangolpuri; Arvinder Singh Lovely from Gandhi Nagar; Krishna Tirath from Patel Nagar; Mateen Ahmed from Seelampur; Dr A K Walia from Krishna Nagar; Poonam Azad from Sangam Vihar; and Abhishek Dutt from Kasturba Nagar.
While leaders like Yadav and Mateen have been given the same constituency from which they contested the 2015 polls, Dr Walia and Lovely have been given different ones.
Dr Walia, who contested from Laxmi Nagar in 2015, has been fielded from Krishna Nagar constituency this time. Lovely has been fielded from Gandhi Nagar.
Names of several senior leaders such as Kiran Walia, Naseeb Singh, Ajay Maken and Mahabal Mishra are missing from the first list. The party is yet to field a candidate from 16 constituencies, including New Delhi, from where Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will contest.
Ten women candidates have been fielded by the party, including campaign committee chairman Kirti Azad’s wife Poonam Azad, who has been given a ticket from Sangam Vihar.
Following the announcement, senior leaders were upbeat about new faces introduced by the party.
“While keeping its popular leaders, the party has also added some fresh, energetic faces in the fray. The candidates look promising,” said a senior leader.
Constituencies where candidates are yet to be announced include Uttam Nagar, Vikaspuri, Mehrauli, Burari, Kirari, Madipur, Tilak Nagar, Bijwasan, Palam, Rajinder Nagar, Badarpur, Okhla, Kondli, Ghonda and Karawal Nagar.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader and former Assembly Speaker Yoganand Shastri resigned from the party over differences with city unit president Subhash Chopra. He alleged tickets to contest the election were on “sale” by party leaders. Shastri, who contested from Malviya Nagar in 2015 polls, has been denied a ticket this time.
When contacted, Chopra said he was not aware of the move.
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