Even as the Congress high command prepared to declare its final list of candidates for the Delhi assembly election, last minute efforts were on to tweak the list to everybody’s liking.
Two assembly seats that are considered the most important in the city polls — New Delhi from where CM Sheila Dikshit is expected to contest .and Greater Kailash where BJP chief ministerial candidate Vijay Kumar Malhotra will take on the opposition — are also being considered especially tricky.
There was some talk of putting aside the Kalkaji seat for Dikshit, while Subhash Chopra was looked at as an opponent for Malhotra from Greater Kailash. Tajdar Babar was named as the replacement candidate from New Delhi.
The Kalkaji seat has become a plum seat for the Congress with 30,000 slum votes being added to it post delimitation. On the other hand, about 30,000 votes from Kalkaji have been added to Greater Kailash.
If Dikshit contests from the New Delhi seat with large chunks of the old Sarojini Nagar constituency, she would have to grapple with changed demographics.
Large parts of Laxmi Bai Nagar and Sarojini Nagar are known to be BJP strongholds, while Balmiki voters at Mandir Marg were also miffed with the Congress for privatising garbage collection in NDMC areas. Most of these voters are sanitation workers.
Malhotra would also have a tough fight on his hands if the Congress fields a strong candidate against him.
“It seems unlikely a heavyweight would be fielded since fighting against a CM candidate is tough. No strong leader would want to play a losing game unless there were other incentives,” said a party insider.
The Greater Kailash seat was difficult enough for party colleagues to advise Malhotra to contest from two seats. Malhotra later said he had decided to contest only from Greater Kailash.
“Jolly might be a problem for Dikshit, but she still has a chance of winning on the basis of her track record as chief minister for the last 10 years,” said a party leader.