The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cong holds back Delhi list

New Delhi, Nov. 11: Four days after the nomination process opened for the December 1 Assembly polls, the Congress’ Delhi list is shrouded in suspense.

Although most of the candidates for Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan have been announced, indications are that the Delhi list may not be out before Thursday — a day before the last date for filing nomination papers.

The delay is deliberate. Alarmed by the angry street protests over the BJP’s ticket distribution, the leadership wants to avoid a similar open unrest. Even Madan Lal Khurana, the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate, was gheraoed by angry partymen whose claims were not entertained.

The Congress leadership has enough reasons to be concerned. For the last 10 days, rival claimants to tickets for most of the 70 seats in the Assembly have virtually laid siege to the party headquarters and president Sonia Gandhi’s residence.

While the hopefuls camped outside, sources said the party leadership is quietly giving the green signal to selected candidates to file nominations and begin campaigning.

Till this afternoon, candidates for 49 seats are believed to have been finalised. Only one sitting legislator, from R.K. Puram, is understood to have been denied renomination. Senior central leaders, chief minister Sheila Dikshit and Delhi Congress chief Prem Singh met this evening to finalise the candidates for the “more contentious” remaining seats.

Apparently, an alternative seat has been kept in reserve for Dikshit, in case she decides to contest from another seat in addition to her Gole Market constituency in New Delhi.

But party leaders are said to be discouraging the chief minister from opting for a second seat, fearing the move could send wrong signals.

The BJP has fielded Poonam, former cricketer and Lok Sabha member Kirti Azad’s wife, to take on Dikshit in Gole Market.

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