Cong bets on young brigade to re-open Delhi account

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Aiming to reopen its account in the Delhi Assembly, the Congress has given the task of finalising its candidates for the upcoming state elections to leaders who trace their roots to the youth wing of the party.

Former Lok Sabha member Rajeev Satav has been appointed chairman of the screening committee of the Congress for the Delhi Assembly elections.

The panel has Virendra Singh Rathore and C Vamsi Chand Reddy as members.

Satav, a trusted aide of Rahul Gandhi, has been a former Indian Youth Congress president, while Rathore and Reddy too had began their political innings in the youth wing.

Elections to the Delhi Assembly are expected to be announced early January and the three players— AAP, BJP and Congress— have already moved into campaign mode to win the hearts of the voters in the national capital.

The 2015 elections were a shocker for the Congress as it drew a blank in the 70-member Assembly with fledgling Aam Aadmi Party winning 67 seats and cornering 54% of the vote share.

The BJP kept its vote share almost intact at 32% but could win a mere three seats, while the Congress managed just over 9% vote in the national capital, where it had ruled for three consecutive terms.

The challenge before the leadership is to re-energise its workers and re-build the party in the capital where the persona of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his several welfare initiatives appear to have cast a spell on the voters.

After the demise of popular three-term chief minister Sheila Dikshit, the Congress has handed over the reins of the party's Delhi unit to veteran leader Subhash Chopra as leaders such as Ajay Maken, Arvinder Singh Lovely and Haroun Yousuf were reluctant to don the mantle.

“Kejriwal is to Delhi, what Narendra Modi is to the country, minus the communal agenda,” a senior Congress leader said admitting getting its members back in the Assembly was indeed a tough task.

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