Updated April 29th, 2024 at 12:06 IST

Protest Against Kanhaiya, Arvinder Lovely's Resignation: Crisis Deepens For Congress in Delhi

Out of 7 Lok Sabha seats in Delhi, the AAP is contesting on 4 seats, while Congress has got 3 seats- Chandni Chowk, Northeast Delhi, and Northwest Delhi.

Reported by: Apoorva Shukla
Arvinder Singh Lovely during poll campaign in Delhi | Image:Facebook/arvinder_lovely

New Delhi: Crisis seems to be deepening for the Congress party in the national capital, barely a month before the voting day. With two big leaders, Arvinder Singh Lovely and Rajkumar Chauhan, stepping down within a span of one week, the Congress finds itself in a spot of bother. While Lovely has resigned from the post of Delhi unit chief, Chauhan quit the party. This has led to internal rebellion across party ranks in Delhi.

Arch-rivals in Punjab, Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party, are fighting side by side in Delhi. Out of the 7 Lok Sabha seats in Delhi, the AAP is contesting on 4 seats- New Delhi, West Delhi, South Delhi, and East Delhi seats. The Congress is contesting from the Chandni Chowk, Northeast Delhi, and Northwest Delhi seats. 


Arvinder Singh Lovely's Resignation Jolts Congress 

Lovely is credited with regaining lost ground for Congress when he waved the Grand Old Party's flag in Sikh-dominated areas like Tilak Nagar, which was one of the worst-hit areas during the 1984 riots. After he decided to step down from the post of Delhi Congress chief, the skeletons within the state party unit came tumbling out of the closet. In a scathing letter directed at the party chief Mallikarjun Kharge, Lovely exposed the discontent within members over Congress' alliance with AAP in Delhi. He highlighted how the High Command kept the local leadership in the dark when it came to fielding “total strangers” from Northeast and Northwest Delhi seats respectively, taking an apparent dig at Kanhaiya Kumar and Udit Raj. 


Arvinder Singh Lovely was first elected as an MLA in 1998 from Gandhi Nahar and was fielded by the Congress from East Delhi constituency in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He had served as the minister of Transport, Education, Urban Development and Revenue in the Congress government in Delhi.

In his resignation letter addressed to party chief Mallikarjun Kharge alleged interference from the party's general secretary in the working of Delhi unit. He said that he has not been allowed to appoint office bearers in the national capital. He said that he was feeling handicapped and hence chose to resign. 

Lovely's Resignation Letter to Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge 


"The Delhi Congress Unit was against an alliance with a Party which was formed on the sole basis of leveling false, fabricated and malafide corruption charges against the Congress Party. Despite that, the Party made a decision to ally with the AAP in Delhi...," said Arvinder Singh Lovely in his resignation letter emphasising Delhi Congress' objection to alliance with Aam Aadmi Party. 


Protest Against Kanhaiya Kumar 

Congress Workers have been protesting against party high command's decision to field former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar from the North East Delhi Lok Sabha seat and Udit Raj, calling them "outsiders".  On Sunday, a group of Congress workers held a massive protest near the office of Kanhaiya Kumar near the Maujpur metro station, demanding a local person to be nominated from the seat.


Navdeep Sharma, one of the protesters, said they want a local candidate from the seat."We want our own candidate or leader to fight otherwise, we should have a meeting so that we can express our feelings with the high command. We need a local candidate from among us; we don't want an outsider. Our dissatisfaction is not with anyone; we don't have any problem with anyone,” Sharma told PTI. He added if there is an outsider candidate, their local politics will be neglected.

This is not the first time that Congress' internal rift is out in the open. Earlier on April 22,  Congress workers staged a massive protest at the party office in Delhi against ticket distribution in the Lok Sabha elections. 



Internal Rift Over Lok Sabha Ticket Distribution 

Congress workers are protesting against party's decision to field Kanhaiya Kumar and Udit Raj. Congress has fielded Udit Raj from North West Delhi and Kanhaiya Kumar from North East Delhi. Udit Raj's pick has not gone down well with the party workers as they consider him an outsider for winning the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as a BJP candidate. He had earlier served as the MP of North West Delhi. Kanhaiya Kumar too came to the Congress from another party and does not even hail from the constituency from where he has been fielded.



Kanhaiya Kumar during campaign in North East Delhi 


The former JNUSU president contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Bihar's Begusarai seat and this time too the Congress wanted to field him from the same seat. However, as per the seat-sharing arrangement, Begusarai was claimed by CPI of which Kanhaiya was a part of. Then, the Congress fielded Kumar from North East Delhi against BJP's Manoj Tiwari with an aim to bank on the Purvanchali factor. 

Arvinder Lovely’s Opposition to Congress Fielding “Outsiders”

Arvinder Singh Lovely also raised the point in his resignation letter. He said that he withdrew his name from the list of potential candidates to make way for senior party leaders, but was disappointed as the party picked outsiders. Lovely wished to contest from the North East Delhi Lok Sabha seat, said reports. 

"In order to ensure that the tickets are alloted to the other Senior Congress Colleagues, I publicly withdrew my name and opted out from being considered as a potential candidate. Out of these 3 seats, while rejecting the views of the PCC, all Observers and the Local Party workers, the North-West Delhi and North East Delhi seats were given to 2 candidates who were total strangers to the Delhi Congress and Party policies," said Lovely in his resignation letter.  



Series of Resignations, Loss in Sikh-Dominated Areas 

Arvinder Singh Lovely's resignation came days after former Delhi minister and AICC member Rajkumar Chauhan resigned from the party following an altercation with AICC's general secretary (in charge of Delhi) Deepak Babria. Arvinder Singh Lovely too alleged interference by Babria, citing it as a reason to resign from the post of Delhi unit chief. 

Babria, who began his career with Congress in the 70s, has been handpicked by Rahul Gandhi to look after the Delhi and Haryana units of the Congress. On the allegations of “interference” raised by Lovely, he said, “His resignation is not a challenge for us. We can still do well.” 


Observers said that Lovely's resignation could not only trigger exodus in the Delhi unit of the Congress party but may also impact the alliance's prospects in the Sikh-dominated segments including Tilak Nagar, Rajouri Garden, Laxmi Nagar and Civil Lines among others as the Congress portrayed Lovely as ‘Delhi Ka Sardaar’ who held high Congress' flag in the national capital. 





Published April 29th, 2024 at 09:22 IST