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20 Days Before MCD Polls, Delhi Congress Stares at Rebellion

Just 20 days before the all-crucial Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections, veteran Congressman AK Walia, reportedly unhappy over ticket distribution in the polls, threatened to quit the party on Monday.

Uday Singh Rana | News18.com@UdaySRana

Updated:April 3, 2017, 4:34 PM IST
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20 Days Before MCD Polls, Delhi Congress Stares at Rebellion
A file image of Congress leader AK Walia. (Image: TV Grab/ CNN-News18)

New Delhi: Rebellion is brewing within the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) and the timing couldn't be worse. Just 20 days before the all-crucial Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections, veteran Congressman A K Walia, reportedly unhappy over ticket distribution in the polls, threatened to quit the party on Monday.

After offering to resign, he told the media that the Congress leadership was treating veteran leaders like “Class 8 students”.

Walia, a former cabinet minister in the Sheila Dixit government, was not alone. Senior leaders Haroon Yusuf and Pervez Hashmi also threatened to quit the party. Three-time Congress MLA, Dalit leader and ex-deputy speaker of the Delhi Assembly, Amrish Gautam made matters worse for the Grand Old Party by joining the BJP on Monday.

Speaking to CNN-News 18, Walia expressed his displeasure and said: "There are four tickets in our ward. I was promised all four but we were given only three. We have been very disturbed since last night and nobody has reached out to us till today morning. There have been many discussions and I have been assured by the top leadership that the issue will be resolved. I have not yet taken back my resignation. I am waiting for them to fulfill their promise."

Soon enough, the knives were out for Delhi Congress Chief Ajay Maken.

According to sources, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma headed a committee which had recommended names of 27 candidates. Maken had reportedly rejected these names.

Former Cabinet minister Arvinder Singh Lovely said: "Dr. Walia and Haroon Yusuf are senior members of the party and definitely, their sentiments have been hurt somewhere. While I agree that all decisions cannot be taken with everyone’s consent, it is a lack on part of the leadership to hurt sentiments of senior leaders. I will talk to them personally.”

Former Congress MP from East Delhi Sandeep Dixit, too, expressed disappointment and said, “Jis terah se Delhi Congress ne senior netao ke sath bartaav kiya hai wo thik nahi hai (The way senior Congress leaders are being treated is not correct).”

While the drama was playing out, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Nitin Tyagi, who represents Walia’s former seat of Laxmi Nagar in the Assembly, went to his residence. This fueled speculation that the veteran Congressman would soon be joining the AAP. Tyagi, however, told said that it was a mere courtesy call.

"The purpose of my visit was not political at all. I had heard that Walia Sahib was in ill health. As a courtesy, I went to see him. He may belong to another political party but he is still a respected figure in our area. I was only concerned about his health," he said.

Delhi Congress spokesperson Sharmishtha Mukherjee, however, laid all speculation to rest.

"Walia Ji has not resigned. There has been no formal resignation and as of now, he is very much within the party. He is a very senior and respected leader of the party. If there was any misunderstanding, it has been sorted out. Walia Ji, Haroon Yusuf Ji and Hashmi Sahib are all going to stay within the party," she said.

When asked if Maken is to blame for the discord, Mukherjee said: "It is absolutely untrue that Mr. Maken is to blame for anything of this sort. We have had a very transparent and fair selection of candidates. All sections have been represented. Apart from senior leaders, we have also taken the views of local booth-level workers."

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| Edited by: Puja Menon
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