‘Lovely’ News for AAP? Kejriwal Banks on New Delhi Congress Chief to Cobble Together 2013-Like Alliance – News18

Reported By: Pallavi Ghosh

Last Updated: August 31, 2023, 12:28 IST

With Lovely in the saddle, the message to AAP and cadre is clear — the same person who had endorsed support for AAP government in 2013 is now going to take decisions. (PTI)

Speaking to News18, Arvinder Singh Lovely said the letter for the alliance with AAP had gone from JP Agarwal and Sheila Dikshit and ultimately, all leaders fell in line with the decision of the high command

The Congress has finally decided to go in for a change of guard in Delhi where it has been fighting to make a comeback.

Party president Mallikarjun Kharge appointed Arvinder Singh Lovely as the new Delhi chief in place of Anil Chaudhary. Lovely is the son of veteran Congress leader Buta Singh and belongs to the SC group, which shows the Congress wants to woo this section in the Union Territory.

Lovely’s appointment has important ramifications. First, he was once considered close to Sheila Dikshit and was Delhi Congress chief in 2013. However, that was also the year when the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) inflicted a crushing defeat on Congress. AAP won 28 seats but needed more support which the Congress gave with the eight seats it won.

Speaking to News18, Lovely said: “It was not my decision to go with AAP in 2013. The letter had gone from JP Agarwal and Sheila Dikshit before that but yes, I was president when we had alliance. For now, it’s my job to ensure Congress comes back to the same stature as earlier and to strengthen our party. Leaders have expressed their view but we all fell in line with the decision of the high command. As for alliance with AAP in future, that’s a call to be taken by our leaders later. My job is to strengthen the party in Delhi.”

However, many today feel this was the beginning of the unravelling of the Congress in Delhi from which it has not yet been able to recover. Today, the Grand Old Party has no seats in either the assembly or Lok Sabha. With Congress aligning with AAP as part of INDIA front, the morale of many in Delhi Congress is down. Attacking the union vociferously were Ajay Maken and Sandeep Dikshit but ultimately, they had to accept the party high command’s decision.

Recently, at a meeting of Delhi Congress leaders, Rahul Gandhi told them to get ready to fight on all seven Lok Sabha seats. Alka Lamba’s comment citing this did not go down well with the AAP and Congress had to issue a clarification.

But now, with Lovely in the saddle, the message to AAP and cadre is clear — the same person who had endorsed support for AAP government in 2013 is now going to take decisions. This can be interpreted as a sign that Lovely would be amicable to a tie-up with Arvind Kejriwal’s party once again.

This is not good news for those who have been cautioning against an alliance or understanding with AAP. Leaders like Maken, Sandeep Dikshit, Manish Tewari and Partap Bajwa have pointed out that AAP will grow — as it has — at the cost of Congress.

Sources say the recommendation from many senior leaders was for Devendra Yadav or Abhishek Dutta as Delhi Congress chief to introduce a fresh face. There were also reservations over Lovely as chief as he had left Congress to join BJP in 2017 before returning to the Grand Old Party.

While Lovely as Delhi chief is good news for AAP, it is not so for those in the Delhi Congress who want no truck with the party.