NEW DELHI -- After months of speculation, the Congress party today announced former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit as its chief minister candidate for the 2017 state elections. The announcement came on a day when the Anti-Corruption Branch summoned the 78-year-old leader to question her about the Rs400 crore Delhi Jal Board scam. Dikshit told the media that she hasn't received any such summons.
It is widely believed that Prashant Kishor, Congress Party's strategist for the U.P. and Punjab polls, roped in Dikshit as part of a strategy to swing Brahmin votes in the state elections, where political parties are trying to woo voters from across the caste spectrum.
While the two powerful regional parties have monopolized the votes of Dalits, Other Backward Classes and Muslims in U.P., the Brahmin vote, which once went to the Congress Party, has shifted to the Bharatiya Janata Party and in some measure to Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party, when she has fielded Brahmin candidates.
Dikshit, the daughter-in-law of Uma Shankar Dikshit, a veteran Congress Party leader from Uttar Pradesh, has described herself as the "daughter-in-law of UP."
In the 2013 Delhi polls, Arvind Kejriwal, whom Dikshit had dismissed as politically irrelevant, defeated her in her own turf by more than 25,000 votes.
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