Tough hunt for new Cong face

Party struggles to narrow down chief ministerial candidate in city

Quite like BJP, the Delhi Congress is also struggling to narrow down on its chief ministerial face for the possible Assembly polls around October.

Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh, former Delhi minister A K Walia and former MPs Ajay Maken, Krishna Tirath and J P Agarwal are some of the names doing the rounds in circles, say party sources.

Arvinder Singh, hinted that the suspense on the issue might continue for some more time. “Just wait, we ourselves will share the details with you,” he said.

Congress spokesman Jitender Kochar refused to shed much light on the issue. He said such decisions are taken by senior central party leaders, adding, appropriate announcement would be made when the time comes.

Sources in the party, however, said they had a tough challenge at hand in the coming months, as the Aam Aadmi Party has retained Arvind Kejriwal as its chief ministerial candidate.

“The AAP has fielded a former chief minister but we do not have a former chief minister among our ranks,” said a party legislator.

The Congress is still in the process of filling the vacuum left behind by the exit of former chief minister Sheila Dikshit from city politics, he said.
After Dikshit was made the Kerala governor, the Delhi Congress has been looking for a leader of a tall stature to project him or her as its next chief ministerial candidate, he said.
Some party leaders also believe that not identifying a chief ministerial candidate before elections may harm the prospects of the Congress, which has conceded a lot of ground to the AAP  
 “The BJP gained a lot by projecting a chief ministerial face in December Assembly polls. We cannot be faceless in a contest in which our rivals might be projecting future chief ministers,” said a Congress councillor.

BJP too searching

The BJP, too, finds itself on a sticky wicket on the issue of projecting a chief ministerial candidate.

 During the last Assembly polls, the Delhi unit chief Harsh Vardhan was its face for the top post in the Delhi government. He became an MP in May and moved over to the central Cabinet sparking a fresh hunt for a new BJP face to head the city government.

BJP sources said there were many aspirants for being projected as the next chief ministerial face. The new Delhi unit chief’s post is also up for grabs.

The Delhi Assembly was placed under suspended animation in February after the Kejriwal government ‘s exit. No party has a clear majority in the hung Assembly and there are high chances of fresh elections around October.

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