The Congress has decided to pit former Delhi minister Kiran Walia against Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal in the Delhi assembly elections on February 7.
Releasing its final list of candidates on Friday, the Congress said Walia will contest from the New Delhi constituency. Kejriwal defeated former chief minister Shiela Dikshit by more than 25,000 votes from the seat in 2013.
The BJP is yet to announce its candidate from the seat.
Walia’s name was announced hours after she met Congress president Sonia Gandhi amidst rumours of several names doing the rounds for the seat.
“The party has tried to put a brave face by fielding Walia after campaign panel chairman Ajay Maken refused to contest. No other prominent leader was keen to contest against Kejriwal,” said a senior party functionary.
Sources said Walia had initially refused to contest this election but agreed when she was offered the New Delhi seat. Walia, who was education minister in Dikshit’s cabinet, won from Malviya Nagar in 2008 but lost in 2013 to AAP’s Somnath Bharti.
While senior party functionaries said Walia would pose a tough challenge to Kejriwal, political analysts agreed that a defeat might end her political career.