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Congress bigwigs may fight Delhi Polls

NEW DELHI: Congress has decided to rope in party bigwigs to fight Delhi assembly elections and release its first list of candidates by January 10.

Congress has identified 25 seats where it can put up a good fight and has decided to declare its first list of candidates well ahead of the February elections. According to sources, former ministers, including Haroon Yusuf, Arvinder Lovely, Ajay Maken and Delhi state Congress chief Subhash Chopra would be part of the first list.

Though Congress had not won a single seat in the 2015 election, it had managed to win eight seats in 2013. The party is planning to repeat all the candidates from these constituencies which include Haroon Yusuf (Ballimaran), Devender Yadav (Badli), Arvinder Lovely (Gandhinagar), Hasan Ahmed (Mustafabad), Asif Mohammed Khan (Okhla), Mateen Ahmed (Seelampur), Jaikishan (Sultanpur Majra). The only exception could be Chandni Chowk, where former AAP MLA Alka Lamba, who has recently joined Congress, could be fielded. Shoaib Iqbal (who had won as an independent from Matia Mahal) would also be fielded. The broad first list has emerged after internal assessment of the state unit which has given emphasis on “3 Ms – a leader’s monetary assets, manpower or cadre control and muscle power.

Congress, which does not have a single MLA in the 70-member assembly, is fighting a tough battle. A second term for Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) could push the party in political wilderness as both AAP and Congress court almost the same socio-economic classes. A senior Congress leader, who did not wish to be identified, told ET, “If we do not get any MLAs this time, it would be very difficult to have any standing. Congress would be a fringe player like it is in, say, Tamil Nadu.”

ABJP government in Delhi would suit the Congress as it would throw up a chance of revival. “A bipolar polity has always suited Congress. It could give us five years to resuscitate the party. It could be a step towards reaching out to its old vote bank, which AAP has won over. Electoral analysis has shown that wherever regional parties come up, Congress has always lost ground,”said the leader quoted earlier. A big factor in the current election would be absence of Sheila Dikshit. Congress’ reliable go-to person for Delhi.

“She was the pivot around which party workers could gather, work together and fight an election. With her death, we are now looking around for such a force. Add to it an AAP victory, Congress would be obliterated in the state, which it once ruled,” said a Delhi Congress leader.

Source: Economic Times