All Eyes on Congress Poll Panel Meet Today
All eyes are on the Congress central election committee meeting scheduled for Wednesday to see whether cricketer-turned-politician Mohammad Azharuddin wangles the Ranchi seat or he shifts base to Barasat/Basirhat in West Bengal for the coming Lok Sabha polls.
Already, the capital is abuzz with stories about Azhar tapping Trinamool Congress through the Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid, Syed Ahmed Bukhari. With the TMC showing little inclination to absorb the former Indian cricket team captain into its Bengal fold, Azhar seems stuck with the grand old party.
Apart from Azhar, the high-profile names that are expected to the cleared by the Congress are that of former Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan (or his wife). Both had to resign from their respective positions after allegations of corruption.
Doubts have been raised about I&B Minister Manish Tewari’s candidature from Ludhiana, his current seat, while PCC chief Pratap Singh Bajwa has been persuaded to stick to his turf, Gurudaspur, and not to shift to Amritsar. For UP, the Congress will decide its candidate from Lucknow depending on whether BJP chief Rajnath Singh contests from the UP headquarters or sticks to old seat, Ghaziabad. Raj Babbar and former PCC chief Rita Bahuguna Johsi’s fate will be decided accordingly. As for Delhi, names of most of the sitting MPs-- J P Agarwal, Ajay Maken, Kapil Sibal, Mahabal Mishra and Sandip Dikshit-- have been cleared.