Former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit was on Thursday named as Congress CM face in Uttar Pradesh where assembly elections are due next year.
The announcement was made by Congress General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi at the party headquarters in the national capital.
“For the first time your assumption has proved right,” he said, referring to media speculation that Dikshit, ousted from power in Delhi in December 2013, would be the face of the Congress in UP.
WATCH VIDEO: Congress Names Sheila Dikshit As UP CM Candidate
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the corruption allegations leveled against Dikshit did not matter since BJP’s Chief Ministers in other states too faced corruption charges.
Azad said she was has been selected for her experience and good work in the past.
The Congress party has largely desisted from naming its chief ministerial candidate in poll-bound states in the past. But it made an exception in Uttar Pradesh by naming Sheila Dikshit (78) as its CM face.
Reacting to her appointment as UP CM face, Dikshit said it’s a big responsibility.
Dikshit’s choice for the top post comes amid speculations that Prashant Kishore, who has been roped in as the party’s poll strategist for Uttar Pradesh, is of the view that a Brahmin face represents the Congress in the politically crucial state.
Dikshit is the daughter-in-law of prominent Congress leader from Uttar Pradesh Uma Shankar Dikshit, who was a Brahmin face and had served as a union minister and governor for a long time.
This move can be seen as an attempt on the Congress Party’s part to win back its traditional upper caste voters.
The community, a traditional vote bank of the Congress, later shifted allegiance to the BJP. A large chunk of Brahmin votes had also gone to the BSP in the past when party supremo Mayawati gave tickets to many candidates belonging to the community.
Dikshit had earlier last month met the Congress top brass amid speculation that she may be made the party’s chief ministerial face for next year’s assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh.
Dikshit, who served thrice as the Delhi Chief Minister before AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal dismissed her with a record mandate in December 2013, had earlier said that she was ready for any role which the party assigns to her.
(With inputs from ANI)