After hectic parleying for almost a month, the Central Election Committee (CEC) of the Congress finalised the first list of candidates for 53 assembly seats on Saturday. Delhi goes to poll on November 29.
The party is yet to announce candidates for 17 assembly seats.
These elections are important, as being the Capital all eyes will be on the outcome of the assembly polls. Many feel the results will indicate the tilt of the Lok Sabha polls in 2009.
The Congress has been in power in Delhi for two consecutive terms — winning in 1998 and 2003.
Delhi is also the largest city in the country. Compared to a city like Mumbai (1.28 crore), Delhi has a population of 1.4 crore (Census 2001). In terms of size, Delhi at 1,438 square km is more than thrice the size of Mumbai (437 sq km). Delhi has been demanding full statehood for long.
Talking to Hindustan Times, J.P. Aggarwal, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) president, said: “We will finalise the second list shortly. A formal announcement will be made after Diwali.”
Heavyweights get tickets
Putting to rest speculations, the first list has retained names of majority of the Congress bigwigs including Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit and five of her cabinet colleagues. She will be contesting from the New Delhi seat as she had first indicated in an interview to HT on October 15.
Those included are finance minister A.K. Walia, education minister Arvinder Singh Lovely, industry minister Mangat Ram Singhal, transport minister Haroon Yusuf and urban development minister Raj Kumar Chauhan. Only health minister Yoganand Shastri’s name is missing from the first list.
34 sitting MLAs in the list
Thirty four sitting MLAs including Zile Singh Chauhan, Ramakant Goswami, Ashok Ahuja, Vijay Singh Lochav also find mention.
MCD councillors make it
Unlike BJP which has categorically ruled out giving tickets to municipal councillors, the Congress list has names of three sitting and three former councillors. These include Shambhu Dayal Sharma, Mehmood Zia, Deepika Khullar and Jeetendra Kochar.
DPCC office-bearers also get lucky
Madan Khorewal, DPCC treasurer, has been named from Karol Bagh, while general secretary Suresh Mallik has been named from Hari Nagar seat. Five more party workers have also been given tickets.
Former BJP and NCP MLAs included
D Chandila, former BJP MLA and Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, former NCP MLA, who joined the Congress recently have also got tickets.