A popular international cricketer is likely to contest the Lok Sabha election from the South Delhi parliamentary constituency on a Congress ticket.
Highly placed sources said the Congress is considering to field ‘Nawab of Najafgarh’ Virender Sehwag from the prestigious seat. Sehwag’s sister Anju Meherwal is a municipal councillor from Dakshinpuri Extension ward, which is part of the South Delhi constituency.
Source said Sehwag has also showed interest in the Congress’ proposal. The flamboyant opener, out of the Indian cricket team for almost two years now, did not respond to text messages and phone calls from HT.
On the West Delhi seat, the party is weighing between three popular actors from Purvanchal — Shekhar Suman, Manoj Bajpai and Kunal Singh. While Suman and Bajpai have done well in the Hindi film industry, Singh is a popular actor in Bhojpuri films.
The sources also added that south Delhi MP Ramesh Kumar and west Delhi MP Mahabal Mishra are now out of the race.
Both Kumar and Mishra had contested their maiden Lok Sabha election in 2009 and came victorious. Mishra said he was confident of being re-nominated by the party and was holding regular meetings with party workers.
The Congress on Tuesday renominated five of the seven sitting MPs in Delhi but kept candidates for the two seats pending for non-performance. Already on a sticky wicket after the poll debacle in the 2013 assembly elections, the Congress was contemplating to replace a couple of candidates to counter the anti-incumbency wave.
Sources said the party was considering giving ticket to a celebrity face to turn the tide in its favour. The South Delhi parliamentary seat is largely a rural belt with a large population of Gujjar and Jat votes. Giving a ticket to a Gujjar or a Jat leader would also help the party consolidate its vote bank in other constituencies where their votes may turn decisive.
In West Delhi too, said sources, the party is looking for a face who could match the popularity of Bhojpuri actor Manoj Tiwari, who is contesting from northeast Delhi on a BJP ticket. While Purvanchalis are a decisive vote bank in west Delhi and northeast Delhi, they are in good numbers in northwest Delhi and east Delhi parliamentary seats too.
“If a Purvanchali celebrity contests in Delhi, he can campaign for the party on all seven seats in the Capital and improve party’s chances on others eats too,” the source said.