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Political parties hunt for CM candidates in Delhi

Thursday, 17 April 2014 - 6:50am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

With the Lok Sabha polls already into fifth phase, the focus in Delhi has now shifted to the assembly here. The three main political parties are now hunting for their would be chief ministers. While Aam Aadmi Party is comfortable with Arvind Kejriwal, the Congress and the BJP are juggling with names. For the Congress party, Ajay Maken seems to be the best option available while the BJP has gone beyond its existing party leaders and may try to pitch in former IPS officer Kiran Bedi as its chief ministerial face for Delhi.

With Delhi's former CM Sheila Dikshit, governor of Kerala, now out of active politics, Congress party general secretary and senior party leader from Delhi Ajay Maken is preparing his pitch.
Sources in the Delhi Congress said that Maken is keen for the top job. "Surveys suggest that Maken might not make it to Lok Sabha from the New Delhi seat he is contesting. He has served as a minister in Dikshit's cabinet in the past. He has a clean image making him the appropriate choice for Delhi," said a senior Congress leader.

Maken is known to be close to the first family of the Congress. He has replaced Dikshit on many fronts. Like Dikshit who had accompanied Sonia Gandhi to the polling station in the 2009 election, this time it
was Maken walking behind her.

After Congress came down to eight from 43 seats in Delhi assembly, JP Agarwal resigned from the post of the party president. Maken's name was doing rounds in the corridors to replace Agarwal. Maken had then refused to take up the job and proposed the name of Arvinder Singh Lovely for the post.

Lovely was known to be close to Dikshit while Maken never shared a good rapport with her. By recommending Lovely's name for Delhi Congress chief, Maken has managed to win over him and his supporters. "Lovely's loyalists have now shifted. He is working on the instructions of Maken and will extend him all the support, if Maken contests the Delhi election," added the Congress leader.

The former office-bearers of the party are also of the view that it was on the instructions of Maken that Lovely got the PCC dissolved just before the Delhi election. "Now, Maken will want his own set of people in the PCC. This will further hit the morale of the party workers," said a former PCC member.

The rift within the Congress party has already started to widen as the office-bearers feel let down after the sudden dissolution of PCC.

Amidst all the infighting, the Congress and the BJP will be submitting their affidavits in the Supreme Court on AAP's petition in the Supreme court. AAP had moved the court challenging President's rule in Delhi. The parties are to file their affidavits on Thursday.

Meanwhile, rumours are rife that BJP is considering Kiran Bedi for the top Delhi post. The party hopes that their CM candidate in Delhi, Dr Harsh Vardhan, will win the Chandni Chowk Lok Sabha seat. For them Bedi will fill the vacuum. Bedi was approached by the party even before the Delhi elections, but she had then refused the offer. "Bedi is the best option available with the BJP to pacify AAP's strength in the capital," said a source.

For AAP, Kejriwal is their face to to go polls. In case, Kejriwal is able to win the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat, the party will pitch his close aide, Manish Sisodia, for the top post in the national capital.

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