New Delhi: The Congress on Saturday evening released its first list of 54 candidates for the February 8 Delhi Assembly elections. The list included 10 women and a number of ministers of the Sheila Dikshit government. Of the 54 nominees, 33 will make their debut in the polls. Four muslim candidates also figured in the list.
Former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Alka Lamba, who switched over to the Congress, has been fielded from Chandni Chowk constituency, while election campaign committee chairman Kirti Azad’s wife, Poonam Azad, will contest from Sangam Vihar.
Former Union minister Krishna Tirath, who has been fielded from the Patel Nagar Assembly constituency, was a Cabinet colleague of former chief minister Sheila Dikshit. Apart from Tirath, four former ministers -- Ashok Kumar Walia, Narendar Nath, Arvinder Singh Lovely and Haroon Yusuf -- have been nominated as well.
Walia has been fielded from Krishna Nagar and Nath from Shahdara. Lovely, who had also been the party's Delhi unit president and contested the Lok Sabha polls last year, has been fielded from Gandhi Nagar while Yusuf has been nominated for Ballimaran seat.
The Delhi Congress' working presidents Rajesh Lilothia and Devender Yadav got tickets from Mangolpuri and Badli constituencies, respectively.
The party, like the BJP, is yet to name its candidate from AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal's constituency of New Delhi. It has fielded Lakshman Rawat against Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia from Patparganj.
Several prominent municipal councilors have also been fielded. These include Mukesh Goyal from Adarsh Nagar and Abhishek Dutt from Kasturba Nagar.
Delhi Congress president Subhash Chopra said, "This is the best list that the party has announced. It has mix of experience and youth. The second list is expected later tonight or tomorrow."
Chopra said the party will leave four seats for its ally -- the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
Chopra's daughter, Shivani, got ticket from Kalkaji where the AAP has fielded its heavyweight Atishi. The party's election campaign committee chairman Kirti Azad's wife Poonam will contest from Sangam Vihar.
A senior Congress leader said the list included at least 40 candidates who were not fielded in the 2015 Assembly elections.
While the AAP released its list of candidates earlier this week, the BJP announced its 57 faces out of 70 on Friday.
Earlier on Saturday, senior Congress leader and former Assembly Speaker Yoganand Shastri resigned from the party over differences with the city unit president Subhash Chopra. He alleged tickets for the Assembly polls were being "sold" by Delhi unit office-bearers.
However, his daughter Priyanka Singh, got ticket from RK Puram seat.
Meanwhile, after being dropped by AAP from its list of candidates, sitting MLA from Dwarka Adarsh Shastri, the grandson of Lal Bahadur Shastri, joined the Congress. He has been fielded from Dwarka.
The list was released after the Congress Election Committee held a meeting at the residence of interim party chief Sonia Gandhi to discuss the names of candidates.
The last date for submission of nomination papers is January 21. Polling will be held on February 8 and the results declared on February 11.
The Congress is seeking to revive its fortunes in Delhi this time. It won just eight seats in 2013 and drew a blank in the 2015 Delhi Assembly polls.
(With inputs from agencies)