New Delhi: Breaking with past practice, Congress on Thursday released its first list of 24 candidates for Delhi Assembly polls repeating all its eight MLAs and 12 others who were runner-ups in the 2013 Assembly election in which the party had suffered a setback.
Usually the Congress list comes during the nomination process. The early release of candidates' name comes at a time when the party is desperately trying to regain the lost ground in Delhi which has a 70-member strong Assembly.
The last election had brought an end to the 15-year-long rule of the party led by Sheila Dikshit, who herself was defeated by AAP Chief Arvind Kejriwal in her home constituency New Delhi.
While Congress has so far not declared its candidate for the New Delhi seat, sources have maintained that former Chief Minister Dikshit will not be contesting this time and will remain a "key campaigner" for the party.
The new faces in the Congress list are ex-Mayor Satbir Singh, who will contest from Mehrauli, and Sachin Bidhuri from Tughlakabad.
Five-time MLA from Matiamahal Shoaib Iqbal, who contested the last Assembly polls on a JD(U) ticket and had joined Congress on November 20, has been fielded from the same seat.
PCC Chief Arvinder Singh Lovely, former Minister Harun Yusuf, Devendra Yadav, Jaikishan, Prahlad Singh Sawahney, Asif Mohammed Khan, Mateen Ahmed and Hasan Ahmed, who had won the polls last time, have been repeated.
Lovely will contest from his traditional stronghold Gandhinagar from where he was elected four times while Yusuf, a five-time MLA, will fight from Ballimaran.
Jaikishan will seek a fifth term from Sultanpur Majra while three-time MLA Sawahney will contest from his Chandni Chowk seat. Khan gets renominated from Okhla while Mateen Ahmed will seek re-election for the sixth term from Seelampur. Hasan will fight from Mustafabad.
Former Ministers in Sheila Dikshit's Cabinet Raj Kumar Chauhan and A K Walia, who were defeated in the last Assembly election, have also been given the party nomination from Mangolpuri and Laxminagar respectively.