Sheila Dikshit, who was Chief Minister of Delhi for 15 long years, will be the chief ministerial candidate of the Congress in Uttar Pradesh, the party announced on Thursday.
The announcement was made by Congress General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi at the party headquarters.
“For the first time your assumption has proved right,” he said, referring to media speculation that Dikshit, ousted from power in Delhi in December 2013, would be the face of the Congress in UP.
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the corruption allegations levelled against Dikshit did not matter since BJP’s Chief Ministers in other states too faced corruption charges.
The decision to chooses 78-year-old Dikshit as the chief minister candidate is seen as a major move to appease the prominent Brahmin vote bank in the state. The congress party’s poll strategist for Uttar Pradesh election Prashant Kishore had earlier suggested the party to bring a Brahmin face as the chief minister candidate of UP.
Dikshit is the daughter-in-law of prominent Congress leader from Uttar Pradesh Uma Shankar Dikshit who had served as a union minister.
In the last election, many Brahmin party workers of the Congress party had supported BJP as it gave ticket to many from the community. A large vote share was also shifted to BSP as the party supremo Mayavati included many Brahmins in the candidates’ list.
The Congress on Tuesday has appointed actor-turned-politician Raj Babbar as party chief in the election-bound state.
Meanwhile, the announcement by the Congress party has put a lot of pressure upon BJP which has not arrived in a final decision on who will lead the party in the crucial UP election.