Congress releases list of 272 candidates for MCD elections

Going into the Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections after trifurcating the civic body and increasing the reservation of seats for women to 50 per cent, the Congress has in its first list of candidates for the MCD elections dropped many sitting councillors and fielded women candidates in even general wards, thus giving them a higher share of tickets.

After days of intense scrutinyand discussion, the party finally announced the first list of 263 candidates on Sunday afternoon and then followed it up with the remaining nine names later in the evening.

Most of these nine contentious seats were in West Delhi where the party finally relented and gave tickets to Rajouri Garden MLA Dayanand Chandila's son Meghraj from Vishnu Garden and daughter-in-law Meenakshi from Khayala. It also gave a ticket to Uttam Nagar MLA Mukesh Sharma's nephew, Rahul Sharma, from Milap Nagar.

The other late announcements included fielding of Ranjana Sodhi from Rana Pratap Bagh as a compromise candidate between Kapil Sibal and Jagdish Tytler; and a ticket at the behest of party high command to Youth Congress leader Abhishek Dutt from Andrews Ganj and to New Delhi MP Ajay Maken's confidante Rakesh Rajora from Greater Kailash I.

Due to the reservation of seats and allegations of corruption levelled in the recent past, the party has retained less than 30 of its 68 sitting councillors. Former Mayors Satbir Singh from Mehrauli and Jaishree Panwar from Shahpur Jat are not in the list . So is the case of former Deputy Mayor and Ambedkar Nagar councillor Panna Lal Khairwal, Rakesh Rajora of Vasant Kunj and member of Standing Committee Khavinder Captain from Govindpuri, and senior leader Brij Mohan Sharma from Chandni Chowk.

Former Mayor Farhad has been fielded by the party from Nizamuddin and former Deputy Mayor Ramesh Dutta is back in the thick of things with a ticket from Minto Road.

On the other hand, the party has also tried to infuse young blood by giving tickets to its student and youth leaders. So Shalu Malik has been fielded from Shastri Nagar and Amrita Dhawan from Vikaspuri East.

According to the list released by the party, there are several seats where the sitting councillors have been dropped. In fact, the supporters of one such councillor, Usha Gupta of Sagarpur West (Ward No. 132) were so peeved by the announcement that they even pulled down and destroyed the hoardings at the DPCC office . Almost in tears, Ms Gupta, who has won twice and whose husband Naresh Gupta is a former councillor and block president, also alleged that she had been denied the ticket as she could not pay the bribe of Rs.50 lakh sought from her.

Following this incident, the gates of the party office were locked and people were allowed entry only on scrutiny.

Another constituency where the Congress has gone for a change is Ward No. 61 Tri Nagar where two-time councillor Amrit Singla has been replaced by Rajinder Tyal .

A senior party leader said, “these changes have been made to suit the MLAs. In many cases, the MLAs were heard and some of the MPs even went by the single names given by the legislators. While the MLAs want people of their choice to be in power as the Assembly elections are due in 2013, the MPs also want to keep their MLAs in good humour because of the fear of snap polls.''

In North-West Delhi, where the MLAs had almost rebelled against the area MP Krishna Tirath, the party has gone with the majority.

“The four-time MLAs, Raj Kumar Chauhan and Jai Kishan have been allowed to field all the four candidates of their choice, while three and two-time MLAs have been allowed three choices and one-time MLAs have been allowed two or three candidates of their preference,'' said a senior party leader.

In at least two Assembly constituencies, the Congress has fielded women candidates in all the four wards.

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