Shake-up has Delhi Congress in tizzy

Jul 26 2014, 10:02 IST
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SummaryThe restructuring of the Congress in Delhi was supposed to 'revitalise' the party.

The restructuring of the Congress party was supposed to “revitalise” the party. But as the revamp begins, so have the rumblings of dissent.

Senior leaders said the revamp is an attempt to undo the damage caused by the possibility of a split within the party.

On taking over the reigns of the Delhi Congress, after its humbling defeat in the Assembly election last December, Arvinder Singh Lovely had dissolved all district and block-level committees in May.

But senior leaders said since then, no new appointment has been made at the block and district-level committees and that the key decisions were still being made by Lovely and Congress Legislature Party leader Haroon Yusuf. “There have been a lot of protests, but communication in the party is not what it used to be,” a leader said.

The hasty decision to create space for former ministers and MLAs, and to form a high-powered committee led by former minister A K Walia to design a party manifesto was prompted by the possibility of a split, sources said. Former West Delhi MP Mahabal Mishra and former speaker Yogananda Shastri were given important roles. But none of the six MLAs who were reportedly in talks with the BJP — regarding the formation of a government — got a role.

Seelampur MLA Mateen Ahmed and Okhla MLA Mohd Asif had met Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday requesting that Sheila Dikshit, the Kerala Governor, be brought back to Delhi with senior leaders Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar.

In an apparent reaction to this, former Ghonda MLA Bhishram Sharma wrote to Sonia Gandhi, alleging that Congress’s loss in Delhi was due to Dikshit’s leadership.

“A war has begun in the party between those who are happy with the present leadership and those who aren’t. There are some who feel that the party will be led better by the old guard,” the leader said.

AICC sources said the party will undertake a major restructuring once the Budget session ends on August 14. “A reshuffle has been expected since the Lok Sabha elections, particularly in states were Assembly elections are due,” the leader said.

- Aniruddha Ghosal

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