While the BJP has ruled out giving tickets to its sitting councillors in the three municipal corporations, the Delhi unit of the Congress has given its consent to almost all of its 88 sitting councillors to contest the upcoming civic polls. However, the party’s senior leaders — two out of three leaders of Opposition — will not contest the upcoming election.
While Leader of the Opposition in the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, Mukesh Goel, and the Leader of the Opposition in South Delhi Municipal Corporation, Farhad Suri, maintained that they have “not taken a decision on the matter”, sources have confirmed that both leaders have conveyed to the party leadership that they will not contest.
In Suri’s case, post delimitation, his constituency — Nizamuddin — has been divided into two — Daryaganj, reserved for women and Siddharth Nagar, reserved for women from the SC category.
“He is one of our strongest leaders and we have asked him to tell us what constituency he wants to contest from,” a senior party official said.
However, with delimitation bringing changes to the composition of wards two months before the election, most councillors are tasked with winning over a new electorate.
Likewise, for Suri to move to a new constituency, after having worked in his own for over 15 years, would be challenging. Suri has also been the mayor of the erstwhile unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi.
Meanwhile, Goel’s ward Dhirpur is a general ward, even post delimitation, but sources said the leader has decided to excuse himself.
Goel contested the 2015 Delhi Assembly Elections from the ward, securing third place with a little over 15,000 votes. He is likely to position himself as an Assembly candidate again.
Leader of the Opposition in East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC), Varyam Kaur, said she will contest from her Raghubarpura seat again. However, the feedback to the party from her ward and the fact that it is a general seat may force her to move to a different constituency.
Apart from the 88 wards where the party has sitting councillors across the three MCDs, the party had sought applications from prospective candidates. It has received over 10,000 applications for the 272 wards that will go to polls on April 22.
With a view to give its ground workers the power to decide the candidate of their choice, the party set up a call centre to seek opinion from over 94,000 workers throughout the city.