As the Congress desperately tried to zero in on a candidate for West Delhi parliamentary seat on Wednesday, two heavyweight MLAs from within the constituency left no stone unturned to lobby for the prized ticket.
Mahabal Mishra from Dwarka and Mukesh Sharma from Uttam Nagar have been trying to sell their own political calculations before those who matter in the party’s decision-making process.
Mishra, a self-professed leader of the Purvanchali voters (those from Bihar, UP and Bengal), has gone a step further to call his support-base the “migrant workforce” vote-bank, which, he says is 22 per cent of the total number of voters.
“West Delhi has changed. Migrant workers form a formidable chunk. In all the 10 Assembly seats within the constituency, Congress won all those seats where migrant workers from the East held the swing-factor,” he said.
According to him, migrant workers from UP and Bihar residing in the 100 unauthorised colonies in West Delhi hold the key to victory and not the traditional Sikh/Punjabi electorate.
“In the corporation elections last year, the BSP gained considerably. In these areas, pundits said, migrant workers went to the BSP denting the Congress’s support bases,” said a party insider.
Mukesh Sharma, Mishra is lobbying against, is a force to reckon with locally.
“Being a protégé of veteran Jat heavyweight Sajjan Kumar, Sharma, a long-time MLA, has been enjoying Jat votes for years.
Moreover, he enjoys almost absolute clout in Vikaspuri and Tilak Nagar areas, apart from his Uttam Nagar seat,” said a party source.
In the assembly polls, he garnered 46 per cent votes, despite the Nationalist Congress Party and the BSP together taking away 13 per cent of what were largely Congress votes. Sharma said he would say something only on Thursday.
Not wanting to risk a backlash from internal strife, some have also suggested names of “outsiders” like lawyers R.K. Anand and KTS Tulsi, more or less conceding the race to BJP’s Jagdish Mukhi, since the area already has a BJP tilt.
The name of the Congress candidate for West Delhi is likely to be announced on Thursday.