Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 17
The BJP today released its first list of 57 party candidates for the upcoming Delhi Assembly elections, for which voting will take place on February 8 and the results will be declared on February 11.
Among the candidates there are four former mayors and a number of councillors of the three Municipal Corporations of the city. In the 2015 elections the BJP had won only three of the 70 seats in Delhi Assembly, while rest 67 went to the AAP. The Congress had drawn a blank.
The ruling AAP has already announced its candidates for all 70 seats. The Congress is yet to announce names of its candidates. As the party appeared to bank on experience to take on ruling AAP in the city assembly elections, the BJP has re-nominated all its three sitting MLAs, including Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta, former Chief Minister Sahib Singh Verma's brother and former mayor Master Azad Singh. The name of former AAP MLA Kapil Mishra also figured on the first list.
Releasing the list, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said Gupta will contest from Rohini seat, Azad Singh from Mundka and Mishra from Model Town, as he expressed confidence that the party will end its more than two decades of stint in opposition and come back to power on its "positive" agenda.
Interestingly, in the first list the BJP has not named anyone to take on AAP leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal fron New Delhi seat. Tiwari, who was joined by Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, party's poll in-charge for Delhi, said the party will soon declare names of 13 remaining candidates.
BJP sources said three seats - Kalkaji, Hari Nagar and Rajouri Garden - may be given to its ally Shiromani Akali Dal(SAD). Rajouri Garden seat is currently held by Manjinder Singh Sirsa, an Akali leader who had won on the BJP ticket.
The party has fielded Khushi Ram from Ambedkar Nagar, Ravindra Gupta from Matia Mahal and Yogender Chandolia from Karol Bagh, all former mayors. It has also given ticket to its national secretary RP Singh, who will contest from Rajender Nagar.
The list has 11 candidates from Scheduled Castes for reserved seats, four women nominations and seven from Poorvanchal, a region comprising eastern UP and Bihar. Tiwari said the names were finalised at BJP's central election committee meeting on Thursday night.
Among several AAP leaders, who have joined the BJP, only two former MLAs have been given tickets by the party, with names like Devender Sehrawat and Guggan Singh missing from the list.
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