The Congress Wednesday removed 48 members from the party for contesting against candidates it had fielded in the recently held elections for the three Municipal Corporations of Delhi. The party had finished third in the polls.
In a meeting of the disciplinary committee of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee, chairman Dr Narendra Nath and the committee “unanimously” decided that those who “fought against the official candidates during the MCD elections 2017 as rebel candidates should be removed from the primary membership and expelled for six years from the party”.
The committee decision was based on complaints received from the official Congress candidates regarding alleged anti-party activities of the “rebel” candidates. The committee, including Mahmood Zia, Surender Kumar and Abha Choudhary, also took a decision to expel spouses and family members of women who stood against official candidates during the polls.
Unlike the BJP, the Congress had allowed sitting councillors to contest the MCD elections and conducted a poll to include the opinion of its ground-level workers to decide the others, after the party claimed to have received over 90,000 applications for 272 wards.
A party spokesperson said there was never any doubt on removing these members, some of whom are former councillors and office bearers of the party, and claimed that the timing of the decision is inconsequential.
Meanwhile, former councillor Ravi Kalsi, who fielded his daughter-in-law Sheetal Kalsi against the Congress candidate from the Kasturba Nagar ward, argued that even though the party had asked sitting councillors to begin their campaign, “I got a call days before the election and was asked to drop my daughter-in-law’s candidacy for the ward. The seat was reserved for women but I was the sitting councillor and I was not allowed to decide the candidate. Instead, it was offered to someone else.” Both have been expelled by the party for six years.
The BJP had also expelled 21 of its workers, including former councillors, in the run-up to the poll after the leadership passed a diktat refusing tickets to any sitting councillor.
Those expelled by Congress include Youth Congress member Sanjay Rathee, former councillor Satender Singh Rana, Ramesh Pandit and Dharmender Singh, among others.