The results of the 2015 assembly elections will not just decide how Delhi politics will unfold in the coming years, but will also seal the fate of several veterans who are probably contesting the last poll of their lives.
Veteran Congress leader Chaudhary Prem Singh, former Speaker Yoganand Shastri, leader of the opposition Jagdish Mukhi, former health minister Ashok Kumar Walia, former education minister Kiran Walia and Naresh Gaur are some of the leaders probably contesting their last election.
A lot is at stake for these leaders who would want to retire from active politics on a winning note.
One of the most keenly watched elections is of former Speaker Prem Singh, who holds the record of contesting 10 elections in the last 56 years and winning all before he lost to AAP in the 2013. Contesting from Ambedkar Nagar in south Delhi, Singh is the oldest candidate.
“I wanted to say goodbye to my political career on a winning note,” Singh had told Hindustan Times a few days ago.
Singh had contested his first election from Ambedkar Nagar in south Delhi in 1958 for Municipal Corporation of Delhi when he was 26 years old. He won all subsequent elections - MCD in 1962, metropolitan council in 1967, 1972, 1977 and 1983, and Delhi Assembly elections in 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2008. He contested from the same seat before he was defeated by AAP in the 2013 elections.
Former minister Ashok Kumar Walia, one of the most popular Congress leaders in Delhi after Sheila Dikshit, is fighting a battle for prestige this time. Walia was one of the few candidates who had won all previous elections since the Delhi assembly was reconstituted in 1993 before he was unsettled in the anti-Congress wave in 2013 and lost to AAP. He is one of the few candidates, Congress hopes, who would win and add to the Congress tally.
Leader of the opposition and finance minister in the BJP government, Jagdish Mukhi has been challenged by his son-in-law in his own backyard. A veteran of elections, Mukhi is BJP’s oldest candidate in fray.
A close Sheila-confidante and former education minister Kiran Walia is probably facing the toughest battle this time. She has been pitted against former chief minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal.
Sources said Walia was not keen on contesting before the Congress leadership nominated her from the New Delhi constituency.