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High Profile Exits From Delhi Congress: Did Party Get It Wrong!

All five who joined BJP – Arvinder Singh Lovely, Raj Kumar Chauhan, Naseeb Singh, Neeraj Basoya, and Amit Malik – are influential grassroots leaders

The recent spate of resignations by high profile Congress leaders in Delhi, protesting the party’s alliance with the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which the grand old party has all along been holding responsible for its downfall in the National Capital on the basis of “fake charges of corruption” against the then Congress government in the state, has further queered the political pitch for the grand old party.

The choice of two party candidates Kanhaiya Kumar (North East Delhi) and Udit Raj (North West Delhi) has also been a sticking point in the dissent within the Delhi Congress as they are being termed as “total strangers to Delhi Congress”.

High Profile Exits From Delhi Congress: Did Party Get It Wrong!, LifeinchdBy striking an unequal alliance with its now INDIA block partner AAP – it is contesting three Lok Sabha seats (Chandni Chowk, North East Delhi, and North West Delhi), leaving the remaining four (New Delhi, South Delhi, West Delhi, and East Delhi) to the ruling party in the state – the Congress was hoping to stop the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and pick up a few seats to safeguard its existence in Delhi.

But by imposing its decision on a dissenting state party, the high command may just have got its calculations wrong.

The five Delhi state Congress leaders, who resigned from the party one after the other, and later together joined the BJP (which won all seven Lok Sabha seats in the 2014 and 2019 general elections, with a vote share exceeding 50%), are all very influential leaders and are sure to hurt the electoral prospects of not only the Congress, but also the alliance as a whole.

High Profile Exits From Delhi Congress: Did Party Get It Wrong!, Lifeinchd

While Arvinder Singh Lovely, the most prominent among the five, has been state party president twice, successive four times MLA from Gandhi Nagar constituency (1998-2015) and cabinet minister for 10 long years in the Sheila Dikshit led Congress government, Raj Kumar Chauhan represented Mangol Puri assembly constituency for four consecutive terms (1993-2013) and remained minister for 10 years.

Naseeb Singh has represented Vishwas Nagar for three consecutive terms (1998-2013) and Neeraj Basoya won the Kasturba Nagar seat in 2008. Moreover, both Naseeb Singh and Neeraj Basoya had also been appointed the AICC (All India Congress Committee) observers for North West Delhi and West Delhi seat in the forthcoming elections.

Amit Malik, apart from being the party’s Delhi youth wing president, has also led the Delhi unit of its students wing (NSUI), besides remaining president of the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) in the past.

High Profile Exits From Delhi Congress: Did Party Get It Wrong!, Lifeinchd
Arvinder Singh Lovely addressing a press conference to announce his resignation as Delhi Congress president

By appointing Devendra Yadav, AICC in-charge of Punjab, as interim president of Delhi Congress, the party has further exposed the glaring contradictions in its alliance with AAP. While in Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, and Chandigarh, the two parties are in an alliance, AAP insisted, and is contesting all 13 Lok Sabha seats alone in Punjab, where also it is the ruling party and Congress is its bitter rival. In these two positions, Devendra Yadav will find it increasingly difficult to publicly reconcile the party’s two diametrically opposite stands towards the AAP.

As for the two Lok Sabha candidates from Delhi in the eye of the storm within the party, Kanhaiya Kumar, a highly controversial former president of the Jawahar Lal Nehru University (JNU), had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as a CPI candidate from Begusarai in Bihar but lost by a big margin to Giriraj Singh of the BJP. He joined the Congress in 2021.

Udit Raj, a former Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer who hails from Uttar Pradesh, after resigning from service had launched his own Indian Justice Party (IJP), which he had later merged with the BJP in 2014. Soon after, the dalit leader fought the 2014 Lok Sabha elections on the BJP ticket from North West Delhi (SC) constituency, defeating former cabinet minister and current deputy speaker of the Delhi legislative assembly Rakhi Birla of the AAP by over one lakh votes. He left the BJP and joined the Congress in 2019 after being denied re-nomination as the party candidate by the saffron party ahead of the lok sabha elections.



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