The Congress list for seven Lok Sabha constituencies in the capital featured some surprises, a comeback, and reflected the clout the old guard still wields in the city unit.
Amid speculation that she could be fielded from Chandni Chowk, three-time former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit was instead named as the candidate from North East Delhi, where she will take on BJP’s Manoj Tiwari and AAP’s Dilip Pandey. The constituency has a sizeable Muslim population, which the party hopes would gravitate towards Dikshit. “It is one of the most important constituencies. Rahul Gandhi wanted her to lead from the front,” said a leader.
In a late-night announcement, boxer Vijender Singh was announced as the candidate from South Delhi, where the party hopes he will attract Jat and Gurjar voters.
Haryana Additional Chief Secretary (home) S S Prasad told The Indian Express that Vijender resigned during the day and the government had accepted his resignation. A 2008 Beijing Olympics Bronze medallist, he hails from village Kaluwas near Bhiwani. The boxer was posted as a DSP with Haryana police.
From East Delhi, the party has fielded five-time MLA Arvinder Singh Lovely, with whom the Congress had briefly shared a tenuous relationship. A former minister in the Dikshit-led government, Lovely quit the party in 2017 following differences with Maken and joined the BJP. He rejoined Congress in February 2018, claiming that he was an “ideological misfit” in the BJP.
“I am a resident of East Delhi and have full support from residents. The party has shown full faith and I will live up to their expectations,” said Lovely.
Other names given the green signal include Maken from New Delhi, Rajesh Lilothia from North West Delhi and former party MP Mahabal Mishra from West Delhi.
On Sunday, Mishra’s supporters had protested outside the AICC office and raised slogans demanding a ticket from West Delhi, a seat he had contested and won earlier. “The Purvanchali community was upset when they heard my seat is being given to another candidate. But today the enthusiasm and support with the party is back,” Mishra said. Click here for more election news
While senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal had earlier expressed interest in contesting from Chandni Chowk, the party has given the ticket to former Delhi minister J P Agarwal instead.
“Definitely, I wanted to contest, but it is for the party to decide. There are other important things on my plate; what if an important Supreme Court hearing comes up? I have been travelling to many states and it’s difficult to do both things together. The party has taken a decision and I support the candidate selected by them,” Sibal told The Indian Express.