With less than three months to go for the Assembly elections, the Delhi Congress has plunged into a full-blown crisis with factional feud that had so far remained behind closed doors going public.
With various factions eyeing the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president’s post, the war escalated to an extent that AICC in-charge P C Chacko was blamed for leaking a letter written to him by former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s son and former Lok Sabha MP Sandeep Dikshit.
In the letter, Sandeep is learnt to have written that Chacko caused mental agony to Sheila in her last days, which led to her sudden demise. On Friday, a section of the Delhi Congress leaders demanded Chacko’s removal, accusing him of “leaking” the personal letter.
According to sources, Sandeep mentioned in the letter that Chacko’s decision to stay Dikshit’s announcement of dissolution of 280 block level committees in June had caused her immense mental agony. Sheila had passed away on July 20.
Chacko, meanwhile, said he had received the letter from Sandeep and forwarded it to Congress president Sonia Gandhi. He said it was sad that Sandeep was using his mother’s death to play politics. Sources said the letter has now been referred to the disciplinary committee of the Congress, comprising senior party leaders A K Antony, Sushilkumar Shinde and Motilal Vora.
“He (Sandeep) sent me a letter and I have forwarded it to the Congress President. Because I felt there is nothing personal between us since everything is a political conversation,” Chacko said Friday.
Meanwhile, senior Delhi Congress leaders Kiran Walia, Ramakant Goswami, Jitender Singh Kochhar, Mangat Ram Singhal and Rohit Manchanda held a press conference in the evening demanding Chacko’s resignation over the alleged leak of the letter.
“This is a betrayal of faith. We were surprised to see the letter being widely discussed. He has been taking decisions on his own for the state unit. We had met Chacko ji earlier as well and requested him not to pass comments on Sheila ji,” Walia said.
“We want Chacko ji to be immediately removed from the post of AICC Delhi in-charge and request Sonia ji to order an inquiry in the matter. The party should take necessary action against those found guilty,” said former Delhi minister Goswami.
The feud delayed the appointment of a new Delhi Congress chief. Sources said former BJP MP Kirti Azad, who joined the Congress in February, and former DPCC president Subhash Chopra remain frontrunners for the post. Sources said the party was close to announcing a decision Friday evening but put it on hold. Three former PCC presidents — Ajay Maken, Subhash Chopra, and Arvinder Singh Lovely — met Chacko Thursday and opposed any move to appoint Azad as the DPCC president, sources said.
Their argument was that Azad was an outsider — both to Delhi and to the Congress. Sources said another DPCC president, J P Aggarwal, too has conveyed his opposition to Azad’s appointment to Chacko.
The Delhi unit of the party has been working without a head ever since Sheila’s death.