Pre-election scene warming up

With the Lok Sabha elections drawing close, lobbying for tickets has also started intensifying. On Tuesday, Neelam Katara, seen as a contender for the New Delhi Parliamentary constituency by a section in the Congress, reports Anuradha Mukherjee.
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Updated on Feb 24, 2009 11:22 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByAnuradha Mukherjee, New Delhi

With the Lok Sabha elections drawing close, lobbying for tickets has also started intensifying.

On Tuesday, Neelam Katara, seen as a contender for the New Delhi Parliamentary constituency by a section in the Congress, met AICC general secretary in change for Delhi, Mukul Wasnik.

On Monday, Katara had met Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. Neelam Katara is the mother of Nitish Katara who was allegedly murdered by Vikas and Vishal Yadav, son and nephew of UP politician D.P. Yadav.

Hindustan Times had reported on February 12 that Katara was being considered for a Lok Sabha berth from Delhi in the upcoming polls. While Katara refused to elaborate on her meetings, she added that she was not averse to joining politics.

"People have been reaching out to me. They feel I can represent them. I am not going to shrug off any responsibility if the opportunity arises," she said. She said the seven-year struggle to get justice for her slain son had taught her a lot.

"If eight years back somebody told me I was going to contest an election, I would have said what nonsense? But now things are different," she said. Party insiders, however, said that it would be difficult for Katara to replace Ajay Maken, the sitting MP from New Delhi . "He had requested the party leadership to relieve him of his organisational role as AICC general secretary as he was going to contest elections. Campaign is already on full swing in his constituency," said a source.

On the other hand, those like Karol Bagh MP Krishna Tirath and Outer Delhi MP Sajjan Kumar, who lost their constituency in the delimitation process, were trying to stake their claim from other areas. "There is one reserved seat (North-West Parliamentary constituency) and it is clear that I will contest from there," said Tirath.

The party, however, was considering the likes of Youth Congress chief Ashok Tanwar. Delhi PWD minister Raj Kumar Chauhan was also said to be interested in contesting from the seat.

While Tanwar was said to have AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi's support, several Delhi politicians said he should be fielded from Haryana where he hails from. "There is a reserved seat empty in Sirsa. Tanwar should contest from his home state," said a source.

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