The suspense over the high profile New Delhi seat that has given the national capital two chief ministers and several stalwarts ended on Tuesday, with Congress and BJP both fielding relatively unknown faces.
Former NSUI president of Delhi Romesh Sabharwal (55) got the Congress ticket, while BJP chose to field its youth wing president Sunil Yadav (43). Both have their task cut out: Fighting against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The names came as a surprise to many even within both parties, since it was anticipated that “well-known” faces would be fielded to have a fighting chance against the AAP chief. In the past, political bigwigs such as Sheila Dikshit, Kiran Walia, Vijender Gupta, Vijay Jolly and Kirti Azad have represented the seat.
Both Sabharwal, a resident of Gol Market, and Yadav, a resident of B K Dutt Colony in Jor Bagh, will make their Assembly poll debut on February 8. Yadav had earlier fought corporation polls in 2012 from Kasturba Nagar but lost.
Yadav said he has spent five years on the ground establishing a connect with the people, while the CM was “busy blaming the L-G and the PM”.
An advocate who was once considered close to the late Arun Jaitley, Yadav has been known to mobilise youth for rallies and increase the party’s volunteer base. He started his political career as mandal president in 2008 and was soon elevated to the district president’s post of the New Delhi Assembly seat. He was also Delhi & District Cricket Association’s director for two years.
“I always wanted to contest from this seat because I know the problems of people here. People here know Kejriwal has not been available for local problems such as dirty water, sewage, bad roads in the past five years.”
A senior BJP leader said though Yadav was not the first choice, he was eventually given a ticket as he was insistent on fighting from his own constituency.
Sources said that before him, the BJP tried to convince two senior leaders and a celebrity with a political background to contest, but talks did not pan out.
Sabharwal said Rajiv Gandhi had picked him as NSUI president back in the day. “This time, Sonia ji has blessed me and given me a chance to contest elections,” he said.