After settling a long game of cat and mouse in the national capital, Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have finally released their list of candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. Congress has released a list of candidates for six of the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi whereas Aam Aadmi party has revealed the candidates for all seven seats.
For the Congress, former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit will contest from the North East Delhi seat, while former Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken will contest from the New Delhi seat. JP Agarwal will fight from Chandni Chowk, Arvinder Singh Lovely from East Delhi, Rajesh Lilothia from North West Delhi (SC) and Mahabal Mishra from West Delhi. However, the candidate for South Delhi has not been named yet.
For AAP, Brijesh Goyal is set to contest from New Delhi, Raghav Chadha from South Delhi, Atishi Marlena from East Delhi, Dilip Pandey from North East Delhi, Pankaj Gupta from Chandni Chowk, Gugan Singh from North West Delhi and Balbir Singh Jakhar from West Delhi.
BJP, waiting for the ‘cute’ twitter exchanges between Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal to settle, has also released a list of candidates for 4 parliamentary constituencies, retaining the candidature of sitting MPs from the respective seats. Union minister Harshwardhan will be contesting from the Chandni Chowk seat, Delhi’s BJP chief Manoj Tiwari is also set to contest from North East Delhi, Ramesh Bidhuri from South Delhi and Pravesh Verma from West Delhi parliamentary constituency.
BJP’s calculated move after discussions of alliance between Congress and Aam Aadmi party will surely benefit the BJP which bagged all seven seats in the 2014 general elections. Choice of candidates also indicates towards the same.
Union minister Dr. Harshwardhan, in the last general elections, had trumped erstwhile AAP member Ashutosh by a margin of more than 1,30,000 votes in the Chandni Chowk parliamentary constituency, Kapil Sibal of the Congress trailed at the third place with just 1,76,206 votes compared to 4,37,938 votes of Dr. Harshwardhan, Dr. Harshwardhan also enjoys a clean and impeccable record as a Union Minister . With Ashutosh no longer a part of AAP over personal issues with Arvind Kejriwal, AAP has decided to field Pankaj Gupta from the densely populated Chandni Chowk constituency, a relatively unknown name in national politics, Pankaj Gupta is the National Secretary and a member of the party’s Political Affairs Committee (PAC). JP Agarwal, holding the baton for the INC, has shifted from the North-East parliamentary constituency, which in the last general elections, he lost to BJP’s Manoj Tiwari by a margin of more than 3,70,000 votes and finished at an embarrassing third.
In North East Delhi, BJP’s Manoj Tiwari also recorded an astounding victory in the last general elections, beating AAP’s Anand Kumar and INC’s JP Agarwal by getting a total of 5,96,125 votes compared to 4,52,041 and 2,14,792 votes in favor of AAP and INC candidates respectively. One of the most populated parliamentary constituencies of the national capital, North East Delhi which has a sizable Purvanchali population will surely benefit BJP’s candidate because of his Bhojpuri roots. AAP’s Dilip Pandey will be challenging Manoj Tiwari, who took over as the convener of the Delhi unit in July 2014. However, he later submitted his resignation in April 2017 after AAP’s defeat in the MCD elections. From INC, ex-CM Sheila Dikshit will be challenging sitting MP Manoj Tiwari. However, Sheila Dikshit’s image, marred with allegations of corruption is surely not going down well with the voters. Also, one should not forget that Sheila Dikshit will be contesting in these elections with a huge burden of losses in the recent past. After facing defeat, she voluntarily went into a political exile and almost retired herself to the verge of irrelevance. In hope of a magical turnaround, she is now being brought back into the political scene by the Grand Old Party.
Sitting MP from South Delhi’s constituency, Ramesh Bidhuri had won in the last general election by a margin of over a lakh votes against AAP’s Col Devinder Sehrawat. However, INC’s Candidate Ramesh Kumar had just got 1,25,213 votes compared to Ramesh Bidhuri’s 4,97,980. Ramesh Bidhuri will be facing challenge from AAP’s Raghav Chadha who is infamous for his crass comments on television debates. Raghav Chadha was in the spotlight when he had expressed regret over comments made by him against Jaitley during his tenure as Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) president. Congress is yet to declare its candidate for South Delhi parliamentary constituency.
Fighting the battle for BJP in West Delhi’s parliamentary constituency is Pravesh Verma, who got a whooping 6,51,395 votes compared to AAP’s Jarnail Singh 3,82,809 and INC’s Mahabal Mishra 1,93,266 votes. The seat which was a part of Outer Delhi Parliamentary Constituency came to its current form after delimitation in the year 2008. Mahabal Mishra has again been given a chance by INC to stake his claim for the seat which he lost to Pravesh Mishra in the last general elections. For AAP, a relatively unknown name, Balbir Singh Jakhar has been chosen to represent the party. Balbir Singh Jakhar was called by the district election office for discrepancies in the affidavit he had filed, the election office has also sent notices over the issue.
The performance of AAP government has Delhi’s voters with a feeling of ‘Buyer’s remorse’, after AAP was elected to the assembly with a huge majority. With Arvind Kejriwal and Rahul Gandhi failing to reach a consensus, BJP is surely set to be on an advantage in the three sided contest that is unfolding in the national capital.