NEW DELHI: While the BJP and the AAP have started their respective campaign for the forthcoming Delhi Assembly polls, the embattled Congress too has drawn up grand plans to revive the party in the national capital.
The party has decided to rope in the Chief Ministers of the Congress-ruled states as well as leaders to lead the party’s campaign in the national capital.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, along with fellow Congress leaders from the state and the adjoining states, is going to campaign for the Delhi Assembly polls.
The party intends to begin its campaign with a huge rally scheduled for the first week of January, which almost all the party’s Central leaders have been asked to attend. Party president Sonia Gandhi and her son and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi are also going to hold several rallies across the city. Though Priyanka Gandhi will not been seen during the campaign, sources within the party said she would “morally and strategically” support the team.
Former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit will be the face of the Congress’ Assembly poll campaign.
The party has also asked 70 of its MLAs to camp in Delhi from January “to revive the party” here.
The Congress has decided to announce the names of its candidates even before the poll dates are announced. The party has finalised a list of 25 candidates and the list includes the names of nine outgoing MLAs and 11 candidates, who had finished second in the last Assembly elections. “The announcement will be made in the first week of January,” said a senior Congress leader.
The party, which is struggling to get its vote share back from the AAP, will drop most of the candidates who failed to do well in the previous elections. A senior Congress leader said, “We have asked the agency which is conducting the survey to give us the correct feedback on the best possible candidates for all the 70 seats. The feed back of the independent survey will also be considered for the final selection of the candidates.”
A source said the Congress had “almost finalised” Delhi Congress president Arvinder Singh Lovely’s candidature from Gandhi Nagar, its former legislative head Haroon Yusuf from Ballimaran and outgoing legislators Chaudhary Mateen Ahmed from Seelampur, Devender Yadav from Badli, Hasan Ahmed from Mustafabad, Parlad Singh Sawhney from Chandni Chowk, Asif Mohd. for Okhla, Jai Kishen for Sultanpur Mazra and Shoiab Iqbal for Matia Mahal.
Interestingly, a few former Parliamentarians have also shown interest in fighting the Delhi Assembly polls.Among the senior Congress leaders, who are not going to contest are Dikshit, former Ministers Ramakant Goswami, Kiran Walia and Mangat Ram Singhal and former Speaker Chaudhary Prem Singh, who has been lobbying for the Ambedkar Nagar seat for his son Pramod.