While the BJP has fielded Sunil Yadav, the party's Yuva Morcha president for Delhi, Congress has fielded Romesh Sabharwal, an old Congress hand
Ahead of the forthcoming Delhi assembly polls, even as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) announced candidates for all 70 seats, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress began announcing their own lists in batches — but hesitated in naming a candidate from the New Delhi constituency.
That did not come as a surprise. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is contesting from the seat, and putting up a candidate against an incumbent CM who is largely tipped to win again is, according to a Congress leader in Delhi, a matter of "balancing act".
"See, putting up a strong face against a strong candidate is a task, because for one thing, a senior leader would not agree to contest from a seat like New Delhi, where the scales are tipped against him. If someone does agree and then he or she loses, it becomes a matter of career," the leader said.
"On the other hand, putting up a weak candidate is not good for optics either. It's all about what message goes out," the leader added. This time around, both BJP and Congress have opted to go with first-timers from the constituency.
While the BJP has fielded Sunil Yadav, the party's Yuva Morcha president for Delhi, Congress has fielded Romesh Sabharwal, an old Congress hand who is also associated with the party's student unit. Reports suggest that Yadav has pitched the New Delhi contest as a battle between him, a "local boy" and Kejriwal, a "high-profile politician"— and he says he will win the election by a margin of 25,000 votes.
On his part, Sabhrawal claimed that Kejriwal has done nothing for the constituency and that "he may be the CM of Delhi, but I am a local".
"... (I am) a son of a government servant and an honest taxpayer who understands the need of the residents of the constituency," Sabhrawal said, according to India Today.
Be that as it may, carved out of Gole Market and Sarojini Nagar constituencies in 2008, the New Delhi seat has had a history of being represented by Chief Ministers.
In the past 10 years, it has been represented by former Delhi CM, the late Sheila Dikshit, in 2008 and then by Kejriwal from 2013 to 2015. In 2013, New Delhi had become the focal point of the elections because it was Kejriwal— fresh out of the anti-corruption agitation— challenging the might of Dikshit, a former CM. In 2015, Kejriwal was re-elected, something that he hopes will happen this time as well.
The constituency is also important because among its voters is a mix of government employees, the trading community and lower income groups. While it was a Congress bastion once, reports suggest that the AAP has carved New Delhi as its own fortress over the course of past seven years.
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