New Delhi: The Congress’ Delhi unit has identified the candidates for the seven Lok Sabha seats of the national capital, but is not declaring their names primarily because of the last minute effort to forge an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party. The names that have been finalised are primarily of leaders who contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and lost. The only fresh face is likely to be of Olympic medal winning wrestler, Sushil Kumar’s. Also, the Congress is urging former Delhi Chief Minister, the 81-year-old Sheila Dikshit to contest from the East Delhi Lok Sabha constituency. Dikshit is yet to give her consent because of reasons of health and age. Others who could be possible Congress candidates include Ajay Maken from New Delhi, Kapil Sibal from Chandni Chowk, J.P. Aggarwal from North-East Delhi, Rajkumar Chauhan from North-West Delhi and Mahabal Mishra from West Delhi. Sushil Kumar, a Jat, may be fielded from the South Delhi seat. If that happens, he will take on BJP’s sitting MP, Ramesh Bidhuri, a Gurjar, provided the latter is fielded. Maken, Sibal, Aggrawal and Mishra were fielded in 2014 as well, but lost the elections.
But their names are not being announced because there is still some slim hope that an alliance with AAP may work out, even though AAP leader Gopal Rai has said that no such alliance would take place as the grand old party did not want similar arrangements in Haryana and Chandigarh. Congress sources described AAP’s demand as unrealistic and said that the party was fully prepared to contest all the seats on its own. But Congress sources also said that instead of repeating candidates who had forfeited their deposits in the 2014 parliamentary polls, the party should nominate fresh faces.
However, P.C. Chako, All India Congress Committee general secretary and in-charge of Delhi told The Sunday Guardian, “No names have been decided so far.”