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Parties to play safe, may bet on sitting councillors

Majority of sitting municipal councillors, who have not lost their seats to the rotation policy, are likely to recontest the upcoming municipal elections. Atul Mathur reports.

delhi Updated: Mar 16, 2012 01:33 IST
Atul Mathur
Atul Mathur
Hindustan Times

Majority of sitting municipal councillors, who have not lost their seats to the rotation policy, are likely to recontest the upcoming municipal elections.

Senior leaders of various political parties said that the first list of candidates, which is likely to be announced by March 18 or 19, would have names mostly of sitting municipal councillors, in whom the top leadership of the party have expressed faith.

While Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) — the only other national party in Delhi besides the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress — which had done reasonably well in the 2007 municipal elections, has decided to field each of its 17 municipal councillors, senior Congress and BJP leaders said they would repeat most of their winning candidates in these elections.

Of 171 councillors, the BJP has 72 members in the MCD, whose seats have not been affected by the rotation of seats.

Forty-three of the 74 Congress councillors and six of 16 BSP councillors managed to have status of their seats unchanged.

"Except the two councillors who were caught in the TV sting operation and a couple of more who have performed exceptionally bad, most of our councillors will be in the fray again. We will also give tickets to some of our leaders who lost the 2007 elections by a narrow margin," said a senior Congress leader.

“The ability to win the election is one of the main criteria for selection of candidates this year, and I feel most of our sitting councillors meet this criterion,” he added.

Senior BJP leaders said 80 to 85% of their councillors, whose seats were unaffected, would recontest the elections. “Most of our councillors have done remarkably well in their term. The deserving candidates will certainly get another term,” said Vijender Gupta, Delhi BJP president.

A senior BSP leader said the 10 councillors who had lost their seats due to rotation would either be accommodated on the neighbouring seat or somebody from their family would be given an opportunity to contest if the ward had been reserved for woman.

Senior Congress leaders said the seven election committees of the party had already met at least once for the selection of candidates for remaining seats.

Committee members will soon submit their recommendations to the apex committee, which comprises Delhi Congress president Jai Prakash Aggarwal, chief minister Sheila Dikshit and Delhi state in-charge Chaudhary Bijender Singh.

“We have received more than 6,000 applications from interested Congress workers. We are still looking at the biodatas. We will soon be able to shortlist the aspirants, and election committee in each parliamentary constituency will recommend its choice to us,” Aggarwal said.

BJP leaders said they had received about 7,000 applications so far. "Our election committee will soon have meetings to decide on candidates for other seats," Gupta said.

First Published: Mar 16, 2012 01:27 IST