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Congress discusses preparations for LS poll in Delhi, asks leaders to strengthen party in all 7 seats

Congress leaders from Delhi on Wednesday met the party’s top brass to review preparations for the Lok Sabha elections and discuss ways and means to strengthen the organization in all seven parliamentary constituencies in the capital.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and former party chief Rahul Gandhi, who were present at the meeting, asked the party leaders to remain united and connected with the people, sources said.

Delhi Congress president Anil Chaudhary and former Union minister Ajay Maken, who were also present at the meeting, raised concerns over a possible alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), sources said.

“In view of the Lok Sabha elections, a consultation was held with Congress leaders in Delhi today. Our priority is the revitalization of the Delhi Congress where participation of all leaders and workers is essential. We have made Delhi prosperous and happy, our fight for the people of Delhi continues even further,” Kharge said after the meeting.

In his Facebook post, Gandhi said that the meeting of Congress leaders in Delhi was held under the chairmanship of Congress President Kharge. “The Congress is dedicated to empowering the voice of the people of Delhi and ensuring the progress of Delhi,” he said.

Later, in a personal meeting, Kharge and Gandhi met senior Congress leaders in Delhi, including Maken, Chowdhary and Subhash Chopra, to discuss leadership issues in the unit. Chowdhary has completed his term as Delhi Congress president and is expected to be replaced.

All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary K C Venugopal said on X, “He attended a meeting to review the preparations of Delhi PCC (Pradesh Congress Committee) for the Lok Sabha elections chaired by Sh. Mallikarjun Kharge ji, along with Sh. Rahul Gandhi ji and senior leaders from Delhi. “The (Narendra) Modi-led BJP has proved disastrous for Delhi. People also recall the INC’s famous 15-year stint in Delhi, during which the city was transformed into a modern vibrant metropolis. We are confident that people will extend their full support to us in 2024,” said Venugopal.

All seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi are currently held by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)

Delhi Congress chief Chaudhary said it was the Congress that protested against Delhi’s liquor policy during the ‘Pol Khol Yatra’, which led to the arrest of top AAP leaders.

The Congress will always question Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal (also AAP’s national convener) whenever it concerns the safety and security of the people of Delhi, he said.

“Today’s meeting was not about creating an alliance in Delhi, nothing was discussed about that. AAP can make assumptions, but the decision on the alliance will be taken by the AICC central leadership, which will announce it. We, as the opposition party, will raise questions about corruption here,” he said.

AICC in-charge of Congress affairs in Delhi Deepak Babaria said Wednesday’s meeting was held to discuss the party’s strategy for the upcoming assembly elections and all senior leaders and workers were present.

All the leaders representing different sections of the society put forward their issues and felt that the AAP government was “pushing Delhi behind” after the progress made during the Sheila Dikshit government, he said.

“The Congress in Delhi has submitted its resolution that the anti-people policies of the Delhi AAP government will be opposed at the country level,” he said.

Asked if it had been decided with whom the party would form an alliance in Delhi, Babaria said, “We did not discuss it in today’s meeting. We only discussed how to strengthen the party in Delhi. He said the alliance, if any in Delhi, would be finalized by the party high command.

“We have all decided to oppose the twin engine of both the AAP government in Delhi and the BJP government at the Centre,” Babaria said. “Whatever he (Arvind Kejriwal) promised to the people of Delhi, he has not delivered on any matter,” he alleged.

He said Gandhi and Kharge are senior leaders of the INDIA bloc and will decide on any possible alliance in the national capital. “We left the decision up to them,” Babaria said.

“We have been suffering for the last few years in Delhi and we are preparing for elections. We will have our candidates and they will have their candidates,” he said.

The Delhi Congress will continue to highlight the problems of the people of Delhi, he said, adding that Gandhi “told us to reach out to the people and emphasized that we are among the people of Delhi”.

Delhi Congress leader Alka Lamba said in the more than three-hour meeting that there were discussions on shortcomings in the organization and preparations for the Lok Sabha elections. “We have been directed to work intensively in all seven seats,” she said.

“No decision has been taken on whether to form an alliance but we have been asked to prepare for all the seven seats,” she said.

Lamba said “Votes in the Congress have gone to AAP” and many senior AAP leaders are in jail for corruption. “We have been asked to prepare in all seven seats and remain strong in all these seats,” she told reporters.

Reacting strongly to the comments of some Congress leaders who claimed to contest in all seven seats, the AAP said there was no point in the INDIA alliance if the Congress decided to contest alone in Delhi in the Lok Sabha polls.

“If the Congress has already decided not to enter into an alliance with us, then it is pointless for us to attend the next meeting of the ‘INDIA’ alliance. Our top leadership will decide whether we will attend the next meeting or not,” said AAP leader Priyanka Kakkar.

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