The BJP and Congress, which are seeking to upstage the ruling AAP in the February 8 polls, have fielded first-timers against Kejriwal on the seat.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is seeking re-election from the New Delhi Assembly constituency in the Delhi election.
Kejriwal, who is also the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) National Convener, is contesting from the same constituency for the third consecutive time. He had won the seat for the first time in 2013, defeating then Congress chief minister Sheila Dikshit. Dikshit, who held Delhi’s top executive job for three straight terms, had herself successfully contested from this constituency thrice.
While Dikshit faced a tough contest back then, there is a different scenario playing out this time. Kejriwal seems to be the only heavyweight contesting from the constituency.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Indian National Congress, which are seeking to upstage the ruling AAP in the February 8 polls, have fielded first-timer candidates against Kejriwal.
Both opposition parties made hectic, yet unsuccessful efforts to come up with formidable challengers against Kejriwal.
Sunil Yadav (BJP)
BJP has fielded its Yuva Morcha’s Delhi unit president Sunil Yadav. The 44-year-old is a lawyer by profession.
Although Yadav, a resident of Pratapgarh in Uttar Pradesh, may be a lesser known face in the political arena, he has asserted that he will give a "good fight" to the chief minister.
"I live in New Delhi, Kejriwal does not live here. He is an outsider and is hardly available to the people of the constituency. I am here to defeat him with the love and support of the people," Yadav has said.
BJP Delhi unit president Manoj Tiwari has argued that Yadav is not a “lightweight” candidate and that his party had good chances of winning from the constituency dominated by government employees.
"He is not a lightweight candidate. New Delhi suits the BJP as voters in the constituency are strong supporters of the BJP," Tiwari said.
Romesh Sabharwal (Congress)
The Congress has fielded Romesh Sabharwal, a party man having been associated with the National Students Union of India (NSUI).
The 56-year-old is an old party worker who belongs to a family of government employees. Sabharwal’s mother was a teacher and his father a clerk.
Associated with the Congress since late 1980s, Sabharwal has also served as the chairman of the Delhi Tourism department.
He has held different posts in NSUI and the Indian Youth Congress in the past. In 1998, he was expected to be the Congress candidate from then Gole Market (now New Delhi) constituency, but was replaced by Dikshit.
Both, Yadav and Sabharwal, are raring to give a tough fight to Kejriwal.
Besides the two, 25 other candidates are in fray from the constituency.
Walkover for Kejriwal?
On the face of it, political observers suggest that the incumbent chief minister could have a cakewalk.
This is similar to the 2019 Lok Sabha election, where the opposition parties failed to field a heavyweight against Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was seeking re-election from Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi parliamentary constituency.Delhi will head for polling in a single-phase on February 8. Counting of votes will happen on February 11.