The Congress on Friday finally announced its candidates for the two remaining Parliamentary constituencies in Delhi — Northeast and South.
Delhi Congress chief Jai Prakash Aggarwal (64) will contest from the Northeast Delhi constituency, while Sajjan Kumar’s brother and former Shahbad Daulatpur MLA Ramesh Kumar (53) will take over the South Delhi constituency.
Sajjan Kumar (63), who lost his candidature from South Delhi along with Jagdish Tytler who was supposed to contest from Northeast Delhi, managed to have his way and jostled out Delhi Speaker Yoganand Shastri (64). Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit (71) was apparently pushing Shastri’s candidature.
“I am thankful that Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have reposed faith in me. I have worked in the campaigns of elections my brother (Sajjan Kumar) has fought. I have grassroots knowledge of the Outer Delhi constituency, especially the portion that is now South Delhi,” said Ramesh Kumar.
While the Congress had to withdraw the candidature of Tytler and Sajjan Kumar following protests by the Sikh community, it probably could not ignore the damage the two could cause if denied any say in the poll process.
Sajjan Kumar holds sway in four constituencies in Delhi — Northwest, South, West and Chandni Chowk. “The party clearly took the decision keeping in mind the candidates’ winnability that it had often stated was the only criteria for a person to be granted a ticket to contest,” said a Congress leader.
In many ways, this will be Sajjan Kumar’s election as he is expected to not only power his brother’s campaign but also lead from the front. “People will vote if Sajjan Kumar campaigns,” said a Sajjan aide.
“Although Ramesh Kumar is virtually a political novice, he will be pitted against another light weight, Ramesh Bidhuri (47) of the BJP,” said another Congress member.
LJP’s Shoaib Akhtar was being seen as a spoiler who may have upset things in the Northeast Delhi parliamentary seat for Aggarwal, but by late Friday reports about the former extending support to Congress had started coming in. Northeast Delhi has 21.39 % Muslim and 21.25% OBC voters.