Party announces the names of 62 candidates for the Delhi Assembly elections after an eight-hour meeting

Former Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party chief Vijender Gupta will take on Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in her home turf with the party on Wednesday naming him as the candidate to contest from the New Delhi constituency. The BJP announced the names of 62 candidates including Mr. Gupta’s name for the Delhi Assembly elections after an intense meeting lasting nearly eight hours.

Mr. Gupta, a former councillor from Rohini, was seeking a ticket from that constituency but was instead asked to contest from the New Delhi seat. The seat is slated for the big fight with Ms. Dikshit and Aam Aadmi Party head Arvind Kejriwal as the other contenders. He had earlier taken Ms. Dikshit to court for the alleged misuse of government funds for an advertisement campaign ahead of the 2008 Assembly polls.

Meanwhile, the BJP sorted out its differences with its key ally -- Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) -- and agreed to offer them four seats – Hari Nagar, Shahdara, Rajouri Garden and Kalkaji. While the names of the candidates are yet to be decided, BJP worker Rajpal Singh, who was present at the party headquarters on Ashoka Road, was vociferous about his protest over giving the Kalkaji constituency to a SAD candidate.

While the party’s chief ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan will contest from his Krishna Nagar constituency, Delhi BJP Chief Vijay Goel’s name did not figure in the list released on Wednesday.

The party has also given tickets to the sons of three senior BJP leaders -- Ajay Malhotra (Greater Kailash), the son of Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly V. K. Malhotra; former Delhi Chief Minister Sahib Singh Verma’s son Pravesh Verma (Mehrauli) and O. P. Babbar’s son Rajiv to fight from the Tilak Nagar constituency.

In the mix of candidates for the 62 seats are seven from the Scheduled Castes category, five women candidates, one minority candidate and 21 sitting MLAs.

Five councillors from the Municipal Corporation will contest are Rajesh Gehlot (Matiala), Mahender Nagpal (Wazirpur), Anil Sharma (R. K. Puram), Poonam Vidyarthi (Patel Nagar) and Khusiram (Ambedkar Nagar (SC)). The party has named Mohd. Nizamuddin to contest from Matia Mahal.

Five candidates from the Purvanchalis have also been named to woo the sizeable migrant voters. They are are sitting MLAs Anil Jha (Kirari), Dr. S.C.L. Gupta (Sangam Vihar), Vijay Bhagat (Badli), Kaushal Mishra (Seelampur) and Abhay Verma (Laxmi Nagar).

Former Delhi Mayor Arti Mehra (Malviya Nagar), Jagdish Mukhi (Janakpuri), Shikha Rai (Kasturba Nagar), R. P. Singh (Rajinder Nagar), Ramesh Bidhuri (Tuglakabad), Nakul Bhardwaj (Patparganj) and O. P. Sharma (Vishwas Nagar) are the other prominent names in the fray. Mr. Bharadwaj (32) is a youth leader who lost by a narrow margin of 600 votes to Congress candidate Anil Kumar in the 2008 elections.

The party has also given a ticket to Ramvir Bidhuri, who recently joined the party, to contest from the Badarpur constituency.

BJP national general secretary Anant Kumar said that the party will deliberate on the remaining eight seats – Okhla, Chhatarpur, Nangloi (Jat), Mustafabad, Adarsh Nagar, Bawana, Timarpur and Seemapuri – and take a decision soon.

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