New Delhi, Jan 22: Contrary to speculation that the BJP and the Congress might field heavyweights against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the two parties have instead opted for first-timers with antecedents in youth politics.
While BJP opted for Sunil Yada, Delhi unit Yuva Morcha president, the Congress has fielded Romesh Sabharwal, an old party-man having an association with the National Students Union (NSUI), against the AAP chief.
In such an instance, an electoral win is a foregone conclusion for leaders like Arvind Kejriwal.
Both the opposition parties efforts to unseat Kejriwal, who is seeking re-election on the New Delhi seat, failed to come up with any surprises.
Earlier, it was speculated that the BJP would have Kumar Vishwas, a former colleague-turned-foe of Kejriwal, as its candidate against the chief minister. The names of New Delhi Lok Sabha MP Meenakshi Lekhi, state BJP president Manoj Tiwari, and East Delhi MP Gautam Gambhir were also doing rounds to take on Kejriwal.
However, the first-timer, Yadav asserted that he will give a 'good fight' to the chief minister as he was a local while his adversary was an 'outsider'.
'I live in New Delhi, Kejriwal does not live here. He is an outsider and is hardly available to the people of the constituency. I am here to defeat him with the love and support of the people,' Yadav said.
Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari too expressed confidence that chances of winning from the New Delhi constituency dominated by government employees.
'He is not a lightweight candidate. New Delhi suits the BJP as voters in the constituency are strong supporters of the BJP,' he said.
The candidature of Yadav, who is an advocate and a social worker, has surprised everybody. The ruling Aam Aadmi Party has claimed that the BJP had surrendered even before the fight had begun.
"Going by this list and BJP candidate against CM Kejriwal, it seems BJP has surrendered," tweeted AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj.
The Congress, on the other hand, has fielded its former NSUI functionary Romesh Sabharwal from the constituency.
His mother was a teacher and his father a clerk. Associated with the Congress since the late 1980s', Sabharwal has also served as chairman of the Delhi Tourism department.
Sabharwal has held different posts in NSUI and the Indian Youth Congress in the past. In 1998, he was expected to be the Congress candidate from then Gole Market (now New Delhi) constituency but was replaced by Sheila Dikshit.
Kejriwal has won twice consecutively from the New Delhi seat-in 2013 and 2015. And in the first instance, he had turned the fight in the seat into a focal point of the elections by challenging the sitting MLA, then chief minister Sheila Dikshit, and went on to defeat her in a giant-killing feat.