NEW DELHI: The crisis in the Congress Delhi unit deepened further on Tuesday with a section of leaders initiating a signature campaign; aimed at petitioning the central leadership against the possible appointment of former international cricket star and BJP MP Kirti Azad as chief of the party’s state unit in the national capital.
The group of Delhi Congress, who are opposing the appointment of Azad, is approaching senior leaders in the city including formers MPs, MLAs, councillor including incumbent of elected members of Municipal Corporations and office-bearers to convince them to sign another petition seeking the removal of AICC in-charge of the local unit PC Chacko.
“All the workers and party sympathisers believe that the new party chief for Delhi should not be an outsider. The second point is that Chacko should also be replaced with some other senior leaders. Efforts are being made to collect as many as signatures. The campaign, started today, will be continued till Wednesday evening. The signatures then will be submitted to party president Sonia Gandhi,” said a senior Congress functionary in Delhi.
While several senior Congress leaders and office-bearers refused to comment on the matter, one of the former presidents of the Delhi Congress said behind the ‘malign’ campaign were the supporters of a group that raised a banner of revolt against Chacko last week. The leaders including Delhi Congress spokesperson Jatinder Singh Kochar, Ramakant Swami, and former Delhi ministers Kiran Walia and Mangat Ram Singhal held a press conference on Friday and sought the removal of Chacko.
Chacko couldn’t be reached for the comment.
One of the former top functionaries of the party in Delhi, however, condemned the leaders and the signature campaign suggesting that all internal party matters should be taken up at an appropriate level within the party.
He, however, blamed the senior leadership for the flare-up and not interfering to resolve the crisis.
“The way, a section of Congressmen are acting nowadays, is not in favour of the party. Efforts to reconcile should have been made at senior level,” he said.
Another leader of the rival faction said the signature campaign was nothing but to weaken the party in Delhi further.
“The focus should be on to unite and re-strengthen the Congress in Delhi at this crucial juncture as the elections are just a few months away. We are hopeful that the city unit will get a new chief around October 21 after the elections in Haryana, who will be able to bring all factions on the same platform,” he said.
He further added that discussion on Azad’s nomination is at standstill since Friday.