Delhi(DNA): Congress once again reposed faith in its old guard, leaving the young brigade in the party disappointed. Its first list of 24 candidates for Delhi assembly elections includes eight sitting MLAs and 13 those who had won in the 2008 elections but lost in the 2013 elections.
This is also the first time in Congress party’s Delhi electoral history that the candidates have been named before the announcement of poll dates by the Election Commission. Elections in Delhi are likely to take place in February this year.
With defeated MLAs getting tickets, many aspirants such as municipal councilors have been kept out from the first list. “If winnability is the factor, then 13 of 24 would have stayed out. But party does not seems to have learned any lesson. The mistakes of 2013 are being repeated yet again,” said a senior Congress leader. The Congress party that had been in power for three terms was reduced to eight seats in the 2013 Assembly election.
Shoaib Iqbal and former city Mayor Satbir Singh who had joined party only in November have been accommodated in the first list. Iqbal contested the previous election on a Janata Dal (United) ticket and Singh who had left Congress to join NC has been given ticket from a south Delhi seat. “Satbir has more foes than friends in his constituency. The party choose to give ticket to a traitor than to a genuine honest party worker,” said a dejected aspirant.
Taking a leaf out of the Aam Admi Party’s book, the Congress has surprised its members by announcing the list early. “In the past the entire list of 70 was announced in one go and that too after the announcement of elections. AAP and BJP candidates are already out there campaigning. We insisted on timely announcement,” said another party leader.
Delhi has been under President’s Rule since February 2014, when AAP chief minister Arvind Kejriwal quit office.
PCC chief Arvinder Singh Lovely, former minister Harun Yusuf, Devendra Yadav, Jaikishan, Prahlad Singh Sawahney, Asif Mohammed Khan, Mateen Ahmed and Hasan Ahmed, who had won the polls last time, are among those who have figured in the first list.