Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar
NEW DELHI: Having proved all its critics wrong and swept the Delhi Assembly elections comfortably by securing 60 per cent of the 69 seats at stake, the Congress now has another problem – albeit a pleasant one – on its hand. Almost all the senior leaders have won and now there are too many contenders for ministerial berths.
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who led the party to a record third consecutive victory in the polls, now has to deal with this very sensitive situation.
Already many of the leaders have started approaching her in different forms to stake their claim for a place in the Delhi Cabinet.
Since all the Ministers have won the elections and there are many three and four-time MLAs now knocking at the doors for a berth in the Council of Ministers, the Congress has its task cut out.
If Finance Minister A.K. Walia has performed well, another Punjabi leader, the former Delhi Assembly Speaker and former Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president, Subhash Chopra, has also won and would be in contention for a berth.
Similarly, among the Sikhs, while Education Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely would probably remain the first choice as he had done well in his Ministry and has the backing of Sikh organisations, the likes of four-time MLAs Tarvinder Singh Marwah and Prahlad Singh Sawhney would be breathing down his neck. He won by the highest margin in Delhi,
In the case of Muslims too, Transport Minister Haroon Yusuf, despite his fourth consecutive win, finds himself in the midst of tough opposition from the likes of two other four-time winners, the former Minister, Pervez Hashmi and Mateen Ahmed.
In the reserved category, Development Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan has almost emerged No.2 in the Delhi government. But still there would be pulls and pressures from the likes of Jai Kishen and Amrish Singh Gautam for the post.
Another Scheduled Caste leader, Speaker Chaudhary Prem Singh, who won from Ambedkar Nagar, remains a front-runner for the post he holds. But there is also talk that Dr. Walia may be given this post and that would require a lot of adjustments.
Among the Jats, Health Minister Yoganand Shastri, who won despite a change of the constituency, would be in the running for a slot along with another senior leader and four-time winner Kanwar Karan Singh.
Of the Gujjar leaders, it remains to be seen if Naseeb Singh, Parliamentary Secretary to Chief Minister, or some other leader would get into the Cabinet.
From the Vaish community, Industries Minister Mangat Ram Singhal would this time face a challenge from other senior MLA Rajesh Jain.
And then there would be candidates like four-time winner Mukesh Sharma, who would like to be accommodated.
In view of the coming Lok Sabha election and the large population of Poorvanchalis in Delhi, a demand is also being raised to give three-time winner Mahabal Mishra a place in the Cabinet.
On Tuesday, a delegation led by Poorvanchal Cell chief Sivaram Pandey and Bhojpuri Samaj president Ajeet Dubey met All-India Congress Committee general secretary Mohsina Kidwai, Ms. Dikshit and DPCC president J. P. Agarwal to press the demand saying this would improve the party’s prospects in future.
Since Ms. Dikshit has been instrumental in the victory of the Congress, it is only natural that she would like a team she is comfortable with.