With the Lok Sabha polls nearing the finish line, the real challenge for the Delhi Congress begins now. The party’s state unit chief Arvinder Singh Lovely said preparations for the Assembly elections will require a “fresh start” along with massive restructuring of the party in Delhi.
After a rout that saw the Congress in third place in the Delhi Assembly elections with three seats, Congress leaders said the priority during the preparations for the Lok Sabha elections was to ensure that the morale of workers was high.
“At the time, we were the party which was the most active — particularly because we had lost the most. We had gone from holding the reigns in Delhi to becoming relatively insignificant. We brought in members from different communities and aggressively attacked BJP and AAP,” a senior Congress leader said.
While admitting that the real battle will begin after the Lok Sabha results are declared on May 16, Lovely said, “The time now is for a fresh start. Previous assumptions about the party and how we worked will have to be discarded as we look to recover lost ground during the upcoming Assembly elections.”
According to him, all positions within the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) have been suspended and “there will be massive restructuring within the DPCC as these positions are filled up again”. After three-time chief minister Sheila Dikshit was defeated by Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal by a margin of over 25,000 votes, she attacked former DPCC president Jai Prakash Agarwal and said, “the party wasn’t active enough”.
Agarwal and Dikshit had differed in the past on various crucial points, particularly Dikshit’s decision to give tickets to all the 43 sitting MLAs.
After the defeat, Lovely was brought in as the DPCC president and since then, he claims, the DPCC is a changed organisation with a new objective.
“The focus now is on increasing our ground level presence while connecting it with the work that we have done. We need to be aggressive in our approach,” he said. On being asked about the role that defeated MLAs — many of them heavyweights in their own right — will play in the preparations for the Delhi Assembly elections, he said, “Just because they lost an election doesn’t mean that they have lost their presence on the ground. Those with good grassroots presence will always be essential for the party.”