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Who will replace them?

Congress circles agog with speculation after Tytler, Sajjan Kumar’s exit; decision likely after Sonia’s return from Maharashtra, reports Anuradha Mukherjee.

delhi Updated: Apr 10, 2009 01:24 IST
Anuradha Mukherjee

Two of Delhi Congress’s biggest vote-catchers — Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar — are out of the fray now. For the party, this means fresh deliberations on candidates replacing the two from Northeast Delhi and South Delhi parliamentary constituencies.

Party sources said since Congress president Sonia Gandhi was away in Maharashtra for poll campaign and decision about candidates would be taken once she returns.

“Sonia Gandhi is away for the next two days. We are in no hurry since the nomination process starts on April 11 and goes on till April 18. We have seven days in hand, and this is just a local issue,” said an AICC source.

Those in the Delhi unit of the party said names were already on the table, and the party high command merely needed to choose one.

According to Congress sources, the names under consideration from Northeast Delhi include those of DPCC president Jai Prakash Aggarwal, Delhi minister Mangat Ram Singhal, former Delhi minister Narendra Nath.

While the names of Sajjan Kumar’s son Jagpravesh, Delhi speaker Yoganand Shastri and Gujjar leader Balram Tanwar’s names are doing the rounds for South Delhi seat.

“A bania is set to get the ticket from Northeast. There is not much scope of a Muslim candidate getting the ticket. A bania candidate has to get the Congress ticket, since the BJP has fielded two candidates from the community,

while the Congress has not even fielded one,” said a senior party leader.

Banias, however, have a presence of only 4.85 per cent in Northeast Delhi, while Muslims constitute 21.39 per cent of the total electorate.

While DPCC chief Aggarwal, who has three years to go as a Rajya Sabha MP, is reportedly not too keen on contesting as a Lok Sabha candidate, those like MLA Mateen Ahmed are also in the fray.

“It either has to be bania or a Muslim candidate from Northeast Delhi,” said another party source.

In South Delhi, on the other hand, the situation is not very simple. While Yoganand Shastri is a strong Jat contender and a respected figure in the city Congress, Sajjan Kumar’s pelf is likely to buoy Jagpravesh’s chances.

Aggarwal was only willing to state that the decision rested with the high command.

“Whatever the AICC decides is final. We are a secular party and take care of all sections of society. We don’t expect any changes in the order of candidates in the remaining five Lok Sabha seats,” said Aggarwal.