NEW DELHI, July 14: The Congress on Thursday announced Sheila Dikshit as its chief ministerial candidate for next year’s assembly polls in politically crucial Uttar Pradesh. “Sheila has been selected for her experience and good work,” senior Congress leader Jardan Dwivedi said announcing the party’s decision. “It’s a huge responsibility and I want to thank Congress high command,” Sheila Dikshit said reacting to the announcement. Asked if Priyanka Gandhi campaigning for the party for the polls next year would help, Sheila said she is looking forward to it. “ Priyanka Gandhi is a very popular leader and I will be happy if she campaigns extensively in the state,” she said.
The Congress had on Tuesday announced Raj Babbar as the president of Uttar Pradesh unit of the party. Election strategist Prashant Kishor had recommended that Dikshit should play a major role in the party’s poll campaign in the state as she is a prominent Brahmin face and could help Congress regain support of the electorally sizeable community. Dikshit is the daughter-in-law of prominent Congress leader from UP Uma Shankar Dikshit, who was a Brahmin face and had served as a Union minister and governor for a long time.
Earlier this month, Dikshit, a three-time Delhi Chief Minister, had said as UP’s “daughter-in-law” she was ready to play any role in the state.
Dikshit had met party President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi last month during which she was said to have been sounded by them for a leading role in UP. The Brahmin community, a traditiol vote bank of Congress, had shifted allegiance to BJP in the aftermath of the Mandir-Mandal politics and a section in Congress feels it should make efforts to win back the support of the community.
A large chunk of Brahmin votes had also gone to Mayawati’s BSP in the past when she gave tickets to many candidates belonging to the community. The community’s support determines the poll outcome in several seats in central and eastern UP. (IANS)