Staff Reporter

One-upmanship in the party over allotment of ticket

BJP's decision to field Meira Kanwaria, considered a strong candidate, has complicated matters for the partyChief Minister has refrained from naming anyone or showing an inclination for any particular individual

NEW DELHI: Aware of strong public resentment over recent increases in the prices of essential commodities, there are few takers for the Congress ticket to contest the upcoming by-election for the Subhash Nagar Municipal Ward. Also, the Bharatiya Janata Party's decision to field Meira Kanwaria, considered a strong candidate, has complicated matters for the party.

According to highly placed sources, a game of one-upmanship is being played out in the Congress party over the ticket allotment issue. While Pradesh Congress Committee president Ram Babu Sharma, aware of the ground realities, has urged Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit to name the candidate for the by-poll, the Chief Minister has refrained from naming anyone or showing an inclination for any particular individual. The meeting between the Chief Minister and the ruling party president on Monday evening remained inconclusive as both failed to arrive at a consensus on who should be the party candidate.

Mr. Sharma is understood to have conveyed to Ms. Dikshit that since the by-election would be fought on the issue of achievements of the Delhi Government and the good work done by the Congress Government over the past seven years of rule, it is the Chief Minister who should take the initiative and name a candidate. But aware of the public sentiment against her Government, particularly on the issue of power and water shortage along with increased prices of essential commodities, the Chief Minister has stated that the MCD election was the prerogative of the DPCC and therefore it should decide who is best suited for the job. Ever since the announcement of the by-election to be held on July 23, there has been no sign of any enthusiasm on the part of the Delhi Congress leaders to seek the "prized ticket''. The usual rush outside the DPCC office continues but there are hardly any takers for the ticket.

"Who would want to contest elections on a Congress ticket under the present circumstances? The rising prices of essential commodities, the sharp increases in the prices of tomatoes, vegetables, pulses, petrol and diesel, and the miserable water and power situation have made things difficult for the `aam aadmi' of the Congress president, Sonia Gandhi. This is hardly a time to contest elections and that is the reason why there are hardly any takers for the Congress ticket,'' a senior party leader remarked.

The party high command has left it to Mr. Sharma and Ms. Dikshit to decide on the candidate and convey the name to the party general secretary in charge of Delhi, Ashok Gehlot.

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