Cong fields 5 sitting MPs in Delhi

NEW DELHI, Mar 18:
Congress today renominated five sitting MPs — Kapil Sibal, Sandeep Dikshit, J P Agarwal, Krishna Tirath and Ajay Maken — for the Lok Sabha polls in the national capital while deferring its decision on the remaining two seats.
Union Minister Sibal will seek re-election for the third term from Chandni Chowk constituency which is likely to witness an interesting fight with BJP fielding its Delhi unit chief Harsh Vardhan and AAP nominating journalist-turned- politician Ashutosh.
Polling in Delhi will be held on April 10.
In the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, Sibal won defeating BJP’s Smriti Irani. In 2009, he beat BJP’s Vijender Gupta.
Sitting MP Maken, who won unopposed the US-style primaries Congress had introduced to decide its candidates in select constituencies, will fight from the prestigious New Delhi seat which is likely to witness a triangular contest.
BJP has fielded party spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi while AAP has given ticket to another journalist-turned-politician Ashish Khetan, founder of investigative website Gulail.Com.
In East Delhi constituency, Dikshit, son of former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit will try to retain the seat for the second term. He will face challenge from AAP’s Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and BJP’s Mahesh Girri, who has been associated with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living.
The Aam Aadmi Party had won five out of 10 Assembly seats which come under the East Delhi Lok Sabha seat. Congress and BJP had bagged two seats each.
Congress has fielded Tirath from Northwest constituency which she had won in 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha polls.
In the 2004 elections, she had defeated BJP’s Anita Arya while in 2009 elections, she trounced BJP’s Meera Kanwaria. BJP has fielded Dalit leader Udit Raj from the constituency.
Though AAP had fielded Mahendra Singh from the seat, today it said he had withdrawn his candidature and Mangolpuri MLA Rakhi Birla is likely to be fielded in his place.
Agarwal, four-time MP, has been renominated from the North East Delhi constituency. He had won the primaries contest by defeating former MLA and Youth Congress president Rajesh Lilothia.
BJP has fielded Manoj Tiwari from the seat while AAP has given ticket to Anand Kumar. Tiwari, a popular Bhojpuri singer and actor, had joined BJP ahead of the Delhi Assembly polls last year.
Congress has not announced its candidates for South Delhi and West Delhi constituencies which are being represented currently by Ramesh Kumar and Mahabal Mishra.
Sources said AICC in-charge of Delhi Shakeel Ahmed is in favour of giving tickets to all the sitting MPs in Delhi.
They said a decision on the candidates for the two seats will be taken very soon and Mishra is likely to be renominated from West Delhi.
They also said the party was weighing defeat of Mishra’s son Vinay and Kumar’s nephew Jagparvesh while deciding on Lok Sabha candidates for the two seats.
BJP has fielded former Chief Minister Sahib Singh Verma’s son Pravesh from West Delhi while Gujjar leader Ramesh Bidhuri has been named party candidate from South Delhi seat.
AAP has fielded Jarnail Singh from West Delhi and Devindra Sehrawat from South Delhi. (PTI)