Ending speculations, the Congress on Thursday announced Sheila Dikshit as its Chief Ministerial candidate for the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. "Sheila has been selected for her experience and good work," senior Congress leader Janardan 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. "Priyanka Gandhi is a very popular leader and I will be happy if she campaigns extensively in the state," Sheila said.
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is in charge of party affairs in Uttar Pradesh, said Dikshit was chosen as party’s face for the polls considering her strong credentials as Chief Minister of Delhi for three consecutive terms.
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 traditional 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.
(With inputs from PTI)