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A contentious seat for rival Congress

For the BJP, the death of veteran leader Puran Chand Yogi has come as big blow at this crucial juncture when the city is all set to go to the hustings, reports Moushumi Das Gupta. See full coverage.

delhi Updated: Nov 16, 2008 23:57 IST
Moushumi Das Gupta

For the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the death of veteran leader Puran Chand Yogi has come as big blow at this crucial juncture when the city is all set to go to the hustings.

Delhi State BJP president Dr Harsh Vardhan said: “His death will leave a big vacuum in the party. He was one of our more experienced leaders. It will be difficult to replace him. Giving ticket to the senior leader was an easier job as he had been the sitting MLA from the seat for the past 15 years.”

For the BJP, to decide on Yogi’s candidature from the Rajinder Nagar assembly seat was relatively easy.

But unlike it, the Congress faced stiff resistance from its own partymen before it finally decided on sitting MLA from Patel Nagar, Ramakant Goswami’s candidature from the seat.

For the Congress, this particular assembly seat had become a major bone of contention between different factions within the party. Apart from Goswami, the other contenders for the seat were Brahm Yadav and Manish Chatrath.

While Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit was backing Goswami’s candidature, Minister of State for Urban Development Ajay Maken was pushing for Yadav’s candidature. Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president J.P. Aggarwal was pushing for Chatrath.

However, the CM finally had her way and Goswami was named the party’s candidate. But Yogi’s death has once again jeopardised his plans. “Polling to this seat will now be held only after November 29. What if the Congress loses in Delhi?” said a Congress party worker.

Goswami does not seem perturbed though he admitted that his opponent’s death has shocked him. “It came as a bolt from the blue. It’s very unfortunate. He was a very sincere man,” he said.

Asked about his political future, Goswami said: “What can I say? The party has given me a ticket from this seat. I think I will have to file nomination again when the new polling dates are announced. I did not anticipate that such a thing to happen.”