Staff Reporter

Sonia Gandhi summons Ram Babu, Sheila to resolve the ticket distribution issue

NEW DELHI: While its ticket aspirants kept their fingers crossed all through Friday in the hope that the final list of candidates for all the 272 wards for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections would be released by the Congress, infighting in the party delayed the announcement and now the list is only expected to be announced on Saturday, the last date of filing of nominations. It has, however, been reliably learnt that the party was planning to leave out nearly 30 per cent of the 108 sitting Councillors in order to improve its prospects in the polls by reducing the anti-incumbency factor.

The announcement of the final list got delayed as there was high drama when Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president Ram Babu Sharma and Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit did not agree over the distribution of tickets for wards falling in East Delhi parliamentary constituency that is represented by Ms Dikshit's son, Sandeep Dikshit.

The matter reached such a passé that Congress president Sonia Gandhi had to step in and summon both the leaders in the evening to resolve the issue.

Earlier, Mr. Dikshit, some Delhi Congress leaders and ticket seekers had complained to Ms Gandhi about the alleged partisan role of the party leadership in distribution of tickets.

The final list of candidates was to be arrived at by the second three-member Screening Committee comprising Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office Prithviraj Chavan, and general secretaries of All India Congress Committee V. Narainswamy and B.K. Hariprasad.

The three members had on Thursday afternoon held a meeting with the members of 10-member first screening committee chaired by AICC general secretary and in-charge Delhi affairs Ashok Gehlot. During this meeting, detailed discussions were held on the candidates.

Factors determining the selection of the candidates included their image, work in the party, involvement, if any, in acts of corruption, complaints against them and their capability to win the polls.