The fates of two MPs hang in the balance — the Congress is yet to name its candidates for West Delhi and South Delhi parliamentary constituencies. Currently, Mahabal Mishra and Ramesh Kumar, respectively, represent the two constituencies.
Sources said that an internal survey, conducted about a month ago, had showed that there was strong anti-incumbency against both Mishra and Kumar, prompting the central leadership to ask the party to look for possible replacements.
The survey had also indicated that Union minister and Northwest Delhi MP Krishna Tirath was on a sticky wicket, but she was renominated. Sources said the party had failed to find a suitable replacement and also thought that replacing a minister would send out the wrong signals.
Though the Congress is weighing a few names as possible replacements, sources said Mishra and Kumar may be able to scrape through this time.
A known Purvanchali face, Mishra had contested his first parliamentary election in 2009 and had defeated senior BJP leader Jagdish Mukhi. However, his family members, who later contested the 2012 municipal elections and 2013 assembly elections, could not continue his winning streak, weakening his position in his constituency.
Kumar had contested his first election in 2009 after his brother and former MP Sajjan Kumar had to sit out for his alleged involvement in the 1984 riots.
Sources said NSUI leader Rohit Chaudhary is the frontrunner for the South Delhi seat and Shekhar Suman’s name is doing the rounds for West Delhi though there was no official confirmation.
The Congress had comfortably won the last two parliamentary elections in Delhi. While it won six of the seven seats in 2004, it was an all Congress win in 2009 in the city.
The 2013 assembly elections, however, completely changed political dynamics. Facing a strong anti-incumbency wave, the Congress was reduced to just eight seats in the 70-member Delhi Assembly. A major chunk of the Congress vote bank shifted to the debutant Aam Aadmi Party.
Though the chances of repeating its 2009 feat are abysmal, senior Congress leaders said some of the candidates have the potential of turning the tables on the opposition. “There are at least three seats where we have an outside chance of winning,” said a senior Delhi Congress leader.