Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely will not contest the upcoming Assembly elections in the capital, even though his name was in the first list of candidates.
Explaining the decision, P C Chacko, AICC general secretary in-charge of Delhi, on Sunday said, “The party has requested Lovely, candidate from the Gandhi Nagar constituency, to withdraw from the contest and look after the organisation of the elections.”
Meanwhile, sources said former area block president Surender Sharma would be picked as the candidate from the constituency, which has been Lovely’s stronghold since he first won elections in 1998.
While Chacko dismissed suggestions that Lovely had opted out of the fray due to a decline in Congress support in the seat, party insiders claimed that he had initially wanted his wife to contest from the seat. “He had wanted his wife to contest elections from the Assembly seat while he campaigned elsewhere. This way he would be able to save face, in case of a defeat and not let go of the seat, in case he won,” a senior leader said.
“Lovely had campaigned hard in Delhi and was easily one of the most active PCC chiefs. He had thought that he would be the face of the party’s campaign in Delhi and a possible CM candidate. But with Maken being brought in, he was sidelined,” a senior leader said.
Maken dismissed such speculation and said, “Those who follow Delhi politics are well aware that Lovely, Haroon Yusuf and I have been working together for the past 15 years.”
Lovely too dismissed claims of discord. “Both of us (Maken and Lovely) are loyal soldiers of the party,” he said.