After their worst electoral drubbing at the hands of the BJP and AAP in the 2013 Assembly elections, the Delhi Congress hopes to recover lost ground in the by-elections to three constituencies on November 25.
Sources in the Congress said they would not renominate the three candidates who proved unsuccessful in the 2013 elections – then Speaker of the Assembly Yoganand Shastri from Mehrauli, V K Monga from Krishna Nagar and Om Prakash Bidhuri from Tuglaqabad.
A senior party functionary from the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) said, “There will be fresh faces for the upcoming by-elections. The party has had some time to reinvent itself and a good performance will only boost the morale of the party.”
He added that names of candidates would be cleared over the next few days after deliberations with the central party leadership.
But taking on a BJP, which rules the central government and an Aam Aadmi Party on the upswing, might prove an uphill task for the Congress. As in 2013, the Congress continues to underestimate the AAP. “The AAP has lost its quotient in Delhi. They are not a factor,”another senior leader said.
The Congress managed only a distant third place finish in the Lok Sabha elections behind the AAP. In 2013, the Congress’ tally fell from 43 to just eight.
Senior party leaders said that the campaign in the by-elections will be based on the “good work” done by the party during three-time Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s reign between 1998 and 2013 and that Delhi has been neglected by the BJP regime in the Union government.
“All three constituencies include many unauthorised colonies where the BJP has stalled all work. We will expose this,” said DPCC President Arvinder Singh Lovely.
He said the BJP had also promised to reduce the power tariff in Delhi by 30 per cent, which since February this year, has actually increased. “Look at law and order, which is under the Union Home Ministry. Cops are being beaten everyday, there is a riot in Trilokpuri and prices are spiralling out of control. The time is right for the Congress,” Lovely said.