New Delhi: Ending months of speculation over a possible tie-up with the AAP, the Congress on Monday announced names of candidates for six Lok Sabha seats in the national capital. It fielded three-time Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit from the North East Delhi constituency and former Union minister Ajay Maken from New Delhi.
The Congress also fielded J.P. Agarwal from Chandni Chowk, Arvinder Singh Lovely from East Delhi, Rajesh Lilothia from North West Delhi and Mahabal Mishra from West Delhi.
Dikshit, who took over from Maken as the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee chief earlier this year, was last a member of Parliament from 1984-89 from Kannauj. She was the chief minister of Delhi for three terms between 1998 and 2013.
Dikshit will take on BJP’s sitting MP Manoj Tiwari and AAP’s Dilip Pandey.
Interestingly, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal has not been fielded from the Chandni Chowk seat, where he has been contesting since 2004. After two terms, Sibal lost to Union minister Harsh Vardhan in 2014.
Sibal said last month that he will “certainly contest” from Chandni Chowk, irrespective of whether there is an alliance between his party and AAP.
Another interesting pick by the Congress is former DCC chief Lovely from East Delhi where he will take on AAP’s Atishi. The BJP is yet to declare its candidate from the seat.
Lovely has held important portfolios, such as a minister in Delhi. He briefly joined the BJP, but returned to the Congress fold in 2018.
The Congress is yet to announce its candidate for the South Delhi seat.
In the 2014 elections, the BJP won all seven seats in Delhi.
Talks between the Congress and AAP broke down over the latter’s insistence that the grand old party agree to share seats in Haryana, Chandigarh and Punjab, apart from Delhi.
The AAP has already named its seven candidates in the national capital. Its West Delhi candidate, Balbir Singh Jakhar, also filed his nomination papers on Thursday. They were found incomplete by the Election Commission and he is expected to file another set of papers today.
The other six candidates who are expected to file their nominations soon are Pankaj Gupta (Chandni Chowk), Atishi (East Delhi), Gugan Singh (North West Delhi), Raghav Chadha (South Delhi), Pandey (North East) and Brajesh Goel (New Delhi).
The BJP on Sunday fielded its four sitting MPs from Delhi – Harsh Vardhan from Chandni Chowk, Manoj Tiwari from North East Delhi, Pravesh Verma from West Delhi and Ramesh Bidhuri from South Delhi.
(With PTI inputs)