Infighting within the Delhi Congress escalated Wednesday as the All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge of Delhi, P C Chacko, directed working presidents of the state unit to act independently in their respective areas — in an apparent bid to dilute powers of former chief minister and current Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit. In a letter to Dikshit, Chacko claimed that despite just a few months to go for Assembly elections in the capital, “no working arrangement is in place”.
“As you are not keeping well and are hospitalised, and I did not receive any reply to any of my letters, in the interest of the party, I am authorising working presidents to hold a meeting of District Congress Committee and Block Presidents of their respective areas and take appropriate actions to activate the party and report to you the decisions taken. Assembly elections are only a few months ahead and the working of the unit is to be streamlined as early as possible,” wrote Chacko in a letter dated July 16.
This is the second letter he has written to Dikshit in the last five days.
The equation between the two top leaders had turned sour after Dikshit appointed a five-member committee to identify loopholes in the party’s performance during Lok Sabha polls in Delhi, reportedly without keeping Chacko in the loop. Since then, a series of letters have been exchanged between the leaders on the party’s administrative decisions.
The most recent altercation between the leaders was on Dikshit’s decision to dissolve 280 block committees.
When contacted, Dikshit said, “I haven’t received the letter yet. I wasn’t keeping well.” Similar letters have been sent by Chacko to the three working presidents, asking them to chalk out a plan at the ground level.
While Chacko directed the working presidents to hold meetings at the block level, a separate set of instructions have been issued by Dikshit to streamline the roles of the three working presidents. In a letter dated July 15, Dikshit has allocated new responsibilities to the working presidents. Haroon Yusuf and Devender Yadav have been asked to monitor the party’s campaign for the upcoming Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) polls while Rajesh Lilothia has been entrusted with the responsibility of the three civic bodies, Youth Congress and cells of Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC).
“There is no discussion of making a choice for us. The role of Chacko ji is to keep an eye on the work done by the state unit while it’s Sheila ji’s decision to reallocate the work between the working presidents. As an office bearer, I will continue to do what has been directed to me by the party chief,” Lilothia told The Indian Express.