Delhi Cong awaits chief as BJP, AAP begin poll prep

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addresses during the launch of ‘Constitution at 70 Campaign', in New Delhi, Wednesday, Aug 14, 2019. (PTI Photo/Arun Sharma)

A month has passed by but Delhi Congress is still headless, even as its opponents in the national capital BJP and AAP have gone ahead with its preparations for the Assembly polls.

Congress' Delhi chief Sheila Dikshit breathed her last on July 20 but the churn in central leadership, which was settled with the return of Sonia Gandhi as president, delayed the process.

With Assembly elections to be conducted before February next year, Congress has now left the Delhi leadership with three working presidents. No urgency is seen to choose a chief for the Delhi unit.

Congress' Lok Sabha performance has brought cheers to the leaders, as the party managed to improve its vote tally as well as pushing AAP to third. However, the flux in the party's central leadership had taken the momentum away.

Though a decision is not taken on who will lead Delhi Congress, the names of Navjyot Singh Siddhu and Shatrughan Sinha were propped up by certain sections. However, sources said a decision will be taken later.

On the other side, the BJP is going ahead with poll preparations appointing Union Minister Prakash Javadekar as the election in-charge for Delhi.

It also inducted three rebel AAP MLAs and the women's wing chief into the BJP. Rebel MLA Kapil Mishra and AAP women wing chief Richa Pandey joined the BJP on Saturday with the saffron party claiming more leaders will desert the Arvind Kejriwal-led party in the coming days.

BJP believes that it will win this time riding on the opposition to AAP as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's charisma. It will also use the scrapping of special status for Jammu and Kashmir as a major election issue.

For the BJP, it is likely to have a large number of new faces as contestants, as only three of the 70 candidates could win in 2015. Many of those who contested the 2015 polls may not be repeated.

To blunt the BJP campaign on Article 370, the AAP had already announced its support to the Modi government's decision though there were differences within the party over the line to be taken.

Also, Kejriwal has directed the MLAs to concentrate on their constituencies and be visible. The AAP is also on the process of zero in on potential candidates, who are not MLAs now and have asked some of them to spend more time in identified constituencies.

The AAP has indicated that is likely to field Atishi, Dilip Pandey and Pankaj Gupta, who unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections, in the Assembly polls.

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