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Delhi Cong chief Arvinder Singh Lovely resigns, says party unit was against alliance with AAP

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NEW DELHI, April 28: In a setback to the Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, senior leader Arvinder Singh Lovely has resigned as the party’s Delhi unit chief, citing the alliance with the AAP as one of the reasons.

He said the Delhi Congress unit was against the alliance but the party high command went ahead with it.

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In his resignation letter sent to Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Saturday, Lovely also said that he found himself “handicapped” as all unanimous decisions taken by senior Delhi unit leaders have been “unilaterally vetoed” by AICC Delhi in-charge Deepak Babria.

This comes days after former Delhi minister and AICC member Rajkumar Chauhan resigned from the party following an altercation with Babria.

Reacting to the development, the Delhi BJP on Sunday said this “explosion” was set in motion when the Congress started naming candidates for the Lok Sabha elections, while the AAP said this is an internal matter of the Congress.

In his letter to Kharge, Lovely said, “It is with a heavy heart that I write the present letter to you finding myself handicapped and unable to continue as the President of the Delhi party unit.”

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“I had gratefully accepted the role as the DPCC President with the sole objective of supporting the local Congress party workers with whom I have an extremely close connection and life-long association.

“However, since I cannot protect the interests of the party workers, I see no reason to continue in the said post. Therefore, with great regret and an extremely leaden heart, I, Arvinder Singh Lovely, do hereby tender my resignation from the post of DPCC President,” he said.

A minister in the Sheila Dikshit government, Lovely was appointed as the Delhi Congress chief in August last year.

Lovely said even though the Delhi Congress unit was against the alliance with the AAP, he publicly backed it and made sure that the entire unit “fell in line with the high command’s final order”.

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He said that he even withdrew his name as a potential candidate for the Lok Sabha polls in the interest of the party and so that other senior leaders could get tickets.

“The Delhi Congress unit was against an alliance with a party which was formed on the sole basis of levelling false, fabricated and malafide corruption charges against the Congress party… half of the cabinet ministers (of the party) are presently in jail on corruption charges.

“Despite that, the party (Congress) made a decision to ally with the AAP in Delhi. We respected the party’s final decision… I even went to the extent of visiting Mr Kejriwal’s residence on the night of his arrest along with Mr Subash Chopra and Mr Sandeep Dikshit, despite the same being against my position on the matter,” he said.

Lovely also criticised Congress North East Delhi candidate Kanhaiya Kumar for heaping praise on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is behind bars in a money laundering case.

“The candidate from North East Delhi has also been giving media bytes falsely praising the Delhi CM, in direct contravention of the party line and the local party workers’ beliefs.

“In direct contradiction to the true factual position and the misery of Delhi Citizens, he endorsed the false propaganda of AAP in regard to the supposed works done by them in education, health, road and electricity sectors,” he said.

“Such ill-thought and factually incorrect statements have not gone down well” with the Delhi Congress unit since “the local party workers had an inherent understanding that the alliance was not done in appreciation of AAP’s false propaganda of the development of Delhi,” he said.

In fact, he added, the alliance was a “compromise” to improve the chances of victory of the Congress in the Lok Sabha polls.

“It appears that the North East Delhi candidate is unaware of the fact that admittedly, the condition of schools, hospitals and public infrastructure in Delhi, under the AAP rule, has severely worsened as compared to the development work done under the late Sheila Dikshit Ji’s Congress regime,” Lovely said.

The Congress and the AAP are constituents of the INDIA bloc formed by opposition parties to take on the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections. While the AAP is contesting four Lok Sabha seats in Delhi, the Congress has fielded candidates on three.

The BJP had won all the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi in the 2014 and 2019 general elections.

Lovely further said he was unable to continue as the party unit chief as “all unanimous decisions taken by the senior Delhi Congress leaders have been unilaterally vetoed by the AICC General Secretary (Delhi in-charge)”.

“Since my appointment as DPCC President, the AICC General Secretary (Delhi In-charge) has not allowed me to make any senior appointments in the DPCC. My request for appointment of a veteran leader as media head of DPCC was blatantly rejected. Till date, AICC general secretary (Delhi in-charge) has not allowed the DPCC to appoint all block presidents in the city. Resultantly, more than 150 blocks in Delhi do not presently have a block president,” he said.

Lovely alleged that AICC in-charge Babria forced him to suspend senior party leader Raj Kumar Chauhan.

“In direct contravention of my public democratic stand, the AICC general secretary (Delhi Incharge), distressingly, asked me to suspend Raj Kumar Chauhan (ex-Delhi Minister), Surender Kumar (ex-MLA) and other party functionaries from the party.

“He, instead of calming the situation, further also, in public meetings, entered into numerous heated exchanges with Sandeep Dikshit, (ex-MP), Raj Kumar Chauhan (ex- Delhi minister), Bhisham Sharma (ex-MLA) and Surender Kumar (ex-MLA),” he wrote in his letter.

Lovely claimed the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) was not given any intimation about the decision to field Kanhaiya Kumar from North East Delhi seat and Udit Raj from North West Delhi seat before the official announcement was made by the party high command.

He further lamented that no senior AICC leader has spoken to him about pacifying the party workers who are unhappy with the decision and protested outside the DPCC office when the selected candidates were being introduced to the media.

Lovely accused Udit Raj of making “anti-party” statements in the press and disrespecting party workers. He claimed Raj had written several letters to him asking him to suspend various generational local party leaders.

Meanwhile, Delhi BJP chief Virendra Sachdeva said Lovely’s decision to resign was driven by the voice of his soul.

“The reason cited by Lovely for his resignation is an open secret. This explosion was set in motion the day the Congress started announcing tickets (for Lok Sabha poll candidates),” he said.

“No patriot will stand with someone who speaks of dividing the country or stands with the nation’s enemies. Given the way the Congress has distributed tickets, many people are raising the banner of revolt,” he said.

Senior AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj said this is an internal matter of the Congress.

Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit said the issues raised by Lovely need to be addressed.

“We had discussions about his resignation. Clearly, he is pained by the events that unfolded in the last few months. The issues he has raised will have to be addressed,” he said.

Lovely was first elected as an MLA in 1998 from Gandhi Nagar. He served as the minister of transport, education, urban development and revenue in the Congress government in Delhi.

The Congress had fielded Lovely against BJP’s Gautam Gambhir and AAP’s Atishi from East Delhi constituency in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. (PTI)







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