The only MLA missing from the 56-name list is Rajouri Garden MLA Dayanand Chandela

Acceding to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s demand that she be allowed to retain all her sitting MLAs for the upcoming Delhi Assembly elections as she seeks a record consecutive fourth term in office, the Congress has named 42 of her 43 MLAs as candidates for the polls.

The only Congress MLA missing from the 56-name list announced by the All India Congress Committee late on Monday night is Rajouri Garden MLA Dayanand Chandela. His name was in the list of three party MLAs — the others being Jaswant Rana from Narela and Mohammad Asif from Okhla — whose names figured in criminal cases. The list was submitted separately by the Screening Committee to the Central Election Committee for a final decision.

Party sources, however, said Mr. Chandela’s councillor wife Dhanwanti Chandela is being considered for the seat, which is one among the 14 on which a decision is still pending. With the party fielding all its other sitting MLAs, the dust has finally settled on the speculation surrounding how it will ultimately treat legislators who, as per internal party surveys, are said to be on a weak footing.

Among prominent party candidate, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit will fight from New Delhi, Health Minister A.K. Walia from Laxmi Nagar, Food and Supplies Minister Haroon Yusuf from Ballimaran, PWD Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan from Mangolpuri, Power Minister Arvinder Singh from Gandhi Nagar, Transport Minister Ramakant Goswami from Rajender Nagar and Social Welfare Minister Kiran Walia from Malviya Nagar. Apart from this, Speaker Yoganand Shastri will contest from Mehrauli.

Apart from the 42 sitting MLAs, the Congress has also given tickets to a large number of its former MLAs: S.C. Vats from Shakur Basti, Vijay Singh Lochav from Bijwasan, Bhisham Sharma from Ghonda, Madan Khorwal from Karol Bagh and Balzor Singh from Gokalpur.

Opposite BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan, the Congress has decided to field Vinod Kumar Monga, a BJP rebel and former associate of Dr. Vardhan. The Congress has also put to rest all speculations surrounding the possible movement of former BJP Minister Harsharan Singh Balli, who resigned from his party recently, by announcing the name of Surender Kumar Setia from the Hari Nagar seat.

Former Delhi University Students’ Union president and Delhi Youth Congress president Amit Malik has been given a ticket from Kirari in West Delhi. Other candidates fielded by the party are AICC member Naresh Kumar from Mundka, Naresh Kumar Gupta from Shalimar Bagh, Mirza Javed Ali from Matia Mahal, Sushil Gupta from Moti Nagar, Ashok Kumar Jain from Delhi Cantonment and Zakir Khan from Babarpur.

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