Lok Sabha elections 2009 will perhaps be the most unsettling for city Congress bigwigs. With the party leadership clearly looking at only one criterion — the ability to win — factors like seniority or past wins may not count.
Three sitting MPs — Kapil Sibal, Ajay Maken and Sandeep Dikshit — are sure to get a ticket.
While Sibal and Maken are keen to contest from their existing seats — Chandni Chowk and New Delhi — Dikshit was said to have a choice between East and Northeast Delhi.
The fortunes of Jagdish Tytler, Sajjan Kumar and Krishna Tirath are less certain. Sajjan Kumar’s erstwhile constituency — Outer Delhi — has been trifurcated into Northwest, West and South Delhi while Tytler and Tirath’s Sadar and Karol Bagh seats have been dissolved.
“The saving grace for Sajjan Kumar is that the South Delhi constituency has been carved out from Outer Delhi, from where he is the sitting MP,” said a party insider.
Tytler is staking claim to the Chandni Chowk seat along with sitting MP Kapil Sibal on the ground that a large chunk of his Sadar LS seat has been merged with it. “Sibal cannot claim the seat as his, as over 3.15 lakh votes from the Sadar seat have been added to Chandni Chowk, while another 4.27 lakh have been added from Outer Delhi and 2.98 lakh from east Delhi,” said a party source who felt Sibal stood a poor chance of winning again as he did not wield influence among the Muslims.
Others pointed out that the Muslim votes would not play a crucial role this time. "The addition of almost 10 lakh votes from the erstwhile Outer Delhi, Sadar and East Delhi seats has diluted this factor,” said a party leader. He also pointed out that allegations of involvement in the 1984 Sikh riots might also affect Sajjan Kumar and Tytler.
While Sajjan Kumar claims a clean chit on this count, Tytler still has a case pending in this connection.
Delhi Congress leaders said that if the sidelining of Sajjan Kumar and Tytler during Assembly elections was any indication, they were unlikely to get tickets to contest LS polls. AICC sources, however, pointed out that no such instruction was passed on to them.
While South Delhi may have a contender in Sajjan Kumar, there are several for West Delhi — another new LS seat. Congress MLA Mukesh Sharma and Mahabal Mishra are said to be in the fray along with Alka Lamba. There was some talk of Maken possibly contesting from West Delhi, but sources close him discount the same.