New Delhi MP Ajay Makens appointment as All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary in charge of communication and media seems to have cleared the way for Chief Minister Sheila Dikshits fourth run to the top job in Delhi. Makens elevation to the AICC also comes as a breather for Delhi Congress chief J P Agarwal,who,many believed,Maken would replace ahead of the Assembly polls.
Sources in the Congress said Makens appointment as a general secretary in the AICC was a clear sign of support for Dikshit,who has won three successive elections in Delhi. Maken was Dikshits protégé in her government between 1998 and 2003,when he was parliamentary secretary and then a Cabinet minister. The two fell apart,and Maken has since been seen as a contender for the CMs post, a senior Congress leader said. He added that Dikshit had also expressed her desire to move to a post in the Union government.
For now it seems Dikshit and Agarwal will lead the party into the Assembly elections, a source in the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) said.
Incidentally,Dikshit and Agarwal have been at loggerheads for the past one year with the latter even complaining to the AICC that there was little coordination between the city government and the party unit in Delhi.
However,sources in the party maintained that the appointment of Bihar leader Shakeel Ahmed as AICC general secretary in charge of Delhi after Birendra Singh was dropped in the AICC reshuffle might delay crucial poll appointments in the DPCC.
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A senior DPCC functionary said,The DPCC had sent a list of names for the appointments to AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi after consulting Birendra Singh. But with Shakeel Ahmed in charge and Maken as GS in charge of media and publicity,the process may be delayed by a few days.
CM meets Sonia Gandhi
Hours before the reshuffle in the AICC was announced on Sunday,Dikshit met AICC president Sonia Gandhi over the partys preparation ahead of the Assembly elections later this year. Sources said Dikshit briefed Gandhi about the Delhi governments initiatives including the regularisation of unauthorised colonies and the implementation of Aadhaar-linked direct cash transfer schemes like the Annashree Yojana and Kerosene-free Delhi.