The Congress on Thursday released its first list of candidates for the upcoming Delhi Assembly elections. The list of 24 includes all eight MLAs of Delhi and preference has been given to those who stood second in their constituencies in the 2013 elections.
Congress has replaced former Delhi speaker Yoganand Shastri with Satbir Singh who joined the party after contesting in 2008 as an independent candidate. Tughqakabad candidate Om Prakash has been replaced with Sachin Bidhuri. Shastri is likely to contest from Malviya Nagar, previously held by former Women and Child Development minister Kiran Walia.
Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) president Arvinder Singh Lovely said fresh faces have a “better chance of winning”. “We had finalised the names for the byelection that got cancelled. So we retained those names,” he said. The DPCC president will be contesting from the Gandhi Nagar seat again.
In Bawana and Ghonda, the candidates in the third place, who lost by over 10,000 votes, have been repeated.
Several of those given tickets for coming second in the 2013 elections were several thousand votes behind the winning candidates.
This includes Mangolpuri candidate Raj Kumar Chauhan who lost by over 10,000 votes to AAP’s Rakhi Birla. Ram Singh Netaji is contesting again from Badarpur. He lost to BJPs Rambir Singh Bidhuri by over 12,000 votes. Former Delhi health minister A K Walia will be contesting from Laxmi Nagar again despite losing to Vinod Kumar Binny, former AAP member.
After joining the Congress recently, Shoaib Iqbal has replaced Mirza Javed Ali in Matia Mahal. Ali lost to Iqbal by only 3,000 votes.
In the 70-member Assembly, the party managed to win only eight seats last time.
The New Delhi seat, where former chief minister Sheila Dikshit lost to AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal, remains undecided.