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Senior Delhi Congress leaders vie for LS seats

Senior Delhi Congress leaders vie for LS seats
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NEW DELHI: With the prospects of an alliance with Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) nearly over, several senior Delhi Congress leaders have emerged as contenders for the seven seats in the national capital for the coming Lok Sabha election. Delhi Congress president Sheila Dikshit said a number of applications from party leaders have been received but added the ticket distribution will be decided based on their "winnability".

Former Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken is focusing his strength on New Delhi Lok Sabha seat by holding meetings with local leaders and workers, Congress insiders say. Maken, a two-time MP from the seat in 2004 and 2009, was defeated by BJP's Meenakshi Lekhi in 2014 elections.

From South Delhi, former MP from the seat former MLA Balram Tanwar may be considered.He served as an MLA in two constituencies Chhatarpur and Mehrauli ,sources in Congress party claimed. Local party workers, claimed that Tanwar was two-time MLA in Gujjar dominated areas. "People over here had seen his hard work which includes proper water supply in the area," said one of the workers. They further stated that if he gets chance from the party, Balram Tanwar can perform better. After the conviction of Sajjan Kumar, the roads appear closed for younger brother Ramesh Kumar who had got the opportunity to contest in 2014, so in the current scenario Tanwar can be a potential candidate for the party.

Former MP Mahabal Mishra is eyeing West Delhi constituency but the Congress may field a Jat candidate, possibly Yoganand Shastri, from the seat, they say. "On almost all seven Lok Sabha seats, several senior leaders are staking claims as it is almost clear that Congress will not ally with AAP for the coming election," a senior Delhi Congress leader said.

Chaudhary Mateen Ahmad is also a contender from the seat, which has a sizeable number of minorities, they said, adding that former Delhi minister JP Agarwal is another probable from there. Former Union minister Kapil Sibal, former deputy speaker of Delhi Assembly Shoaib Iqbal and Haroon Yusuf are other contenders from Chandni Chowk, he said. Congress insiders have also asserted that either Kirti Azad or Shatrughan Sinha, one of them has joined Congress on Monday while other is rumoured to join the party soon, after differences with top BJP leaders may be fielded from North East Delhi constituency, currently held by Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari. Sources claimed Sinha is also in touch with the Congress "high-command" for his political shift.

It would be pertinent to mention that the AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal, on Thursday, said that the Congress has "more or less" refused an alliance with his party for the general election. He, however, had added his party was "eager" for a tie-up with Congress in the national capital to avoid a three-cornered contest involving the BJP.

The very same day Sharmistha Mukherjee resigned as chief spokesperson of the Congress's Delhi unit, expressing her desire to contest the Lok Sabha election. "If given a ticket by the party I will contest the Lok Sabha election. I will apply for ticket," she said, without revealing her preferred choice of seat. But the Congress leader said she is a probable from Chandni Chowk constituency.

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