Four former legislators and one youth leader figure among the 56 candidates who will contest the Delhi Assembly elections slated for December 4. Senior Congress leaders said winnability was the biggest criteria when senior party leaders finalised the names on Saturday.
Rahul Gandhi (centre) had asked all ticket-hopefuls to fill up a five-page form which tested their knowledge of their constituency and asked for an assessment of the Congress’ performance on that seat. (Raj K Raj/HT file photo)
To ensure there was no rebellion when the names were announced, senior party leaders also held hectic meetings with party workers, legislators and their supporters in the past few days.
Contrary to the initial reports that candidates with criminal background may not get tickets this time, the party has decided not to deny ticket to any of the sitting legislator. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had initially shown reservation against fielding candidates with criminal background.
“Chief Minister Sheilaji was keen that all sitting MLAs be given tickets. The cases these legislators have are mainly political,” a senior Congress leader said requesting anonymity.
Among former legislators who have managed to get the ticket include Vijay Lochav, Bhisham Sharma and SC Vats. Lochav was elected to Delhi Assembly from Mahipalpur (defunct after delimitation in 2008) in 2003 but lost the 2008 election from Bijwasan. He will try his luck from the Bijwasan seat once again. A two-time MLA, Vats had also lost his election in 2008 from Shakur Basti by a narrow margin. Another two-time MLA Bheeshma Sharma had lost 2008 election from Ghonda by just 560 votes.
The remaining 14 seats were referred back to the screening committee by the central election committee on Saturday. Sources said the screening committee met on Monday and finalised the names for these seats “The second list will be released in the next couple of days,” a senior Delhi Congress leader said.
The only MLA whose ticket has been held back is Dayanand Chandela of Rajouri Garden. Chandela has several criminal cases registered against him, sources said. There are rumours of his wife Dayawati, a former councillor, being fielded in his place.
However, riding on chief minister Sheila Dikshit’s support, other legislators who have criminal cases registered against them such as Devender Yadav and Asif Mohammad Khan have managed to make the cut.
Yadav will contest from Badli while Khan will try his luck from Okhla. Originally a Congressman, Khan had won his last election on Rashtriya Janata Dal ticket but later quit the party. He joined the Congress again about two months ago.