Ahead of polls, Sonia meets Delhi Cong leaders to pick State-unit chief

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 05, 2019 Published on September 05, 2019

Congress’ interim President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday met with aspiring party chiefs for the Delhi unit in the run-up to the Assembly elections due early next year.

The Congress’ Delhi-unit president post is vacant following the demise of former Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit. The party has faced successive defeats in the Assembly and the Lok Sabha elections after having been in power for three terms under Dikshit’s leadership.

Sonia Gandhi had reportedly called senior leaders Ajay Maken, Subhash Chopra, Arvinder Singh Lovely and Jai Prakash Agarwal to discuss the leadership issue.

The Congress has faced various internecine conflicts in the Delhi unit with senior leader Arvinder Singh Lovely even exiting the party briefly. After a prolonged factional fight, during which the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won over the Congress’ core vote among the urban slums, minority and middle-class voters, the Congress re-installed an ageing Shiela Dikshit as the party chief.

However, Dikshit passed away on July 20, leaving a leadership vacuum in Delhi.

Since then, a series of meetings have been called to set the Congress’ house in order. Last week, senior leader PC Chacko, who has been holding the charge of Delhi from the central party, along with 14 district presidents had met Sonia Gandhi at her residence.

Earlier this week, disgruntled AAP MLA Alka Lamba met Sonia Gandhi amid reports that she is likely to join the Congress ahead of the elections.

The Congress was in power in Delhi from 1998 to 2013 under Shiela Dikshit. The party lost the 2013 Assembly polls to the AAP and was totally wiped out in 2015 polls when AAP won 67 of the 70 Assembly seats with the BJP winning three.

Published on September 05, 2019
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