Sonia considering Tanwar, Nayak as Delhi Congress chief
New Delhi: Former Haryana Congress chief Ashok Tanwar, who was replaced by former Union minister Kumari Selja ahead of the Assembly polls in the state, is being considered as the next Delhi Congress chief, a post lying vacant since the death of former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, party sources said on Monday.
A highly-placed Congress source, related to the development told IANS, “Names of Tanwar and party spokesperson Ragini Nayak are also being considered for the post of Delhi Congress chief.” The party source said that Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi has asked for opinions from several other party leaders on the names of Tanwar and Nayak.
He said their names was considered looking at their age so that it can prepare them for the long run. Another reason for their names being considered is their relations with Delhi as both of them were educated in Delhi.
Tanwar and Nayak have in-depth knowledge about the national capital, he said. When asked about the names of former Delhi minister Arvinder Singh Lovely, former city unit chiefs Ajay Maken, Subhash Chopra and Sheila Dikshit’s son Sandeep Dikshit, he said, “They are also being considered for the post. But a decision is likely to be taken only after the approval from other senior party leaders in the coming days,” he said.
However, another senior party leader said that the move to appoint Tanwar as Delhi Congress chief is aimed to end the dissent brewing in the party following his removal as Haryana unit chief. Another factor that has gone in Tanwar’s favour is his rapport with former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.
A Delhi Congress leader, not wishing to be named, told IANS, “We have left the decision to Sonia Gandhi. During the meeting earlier this month with her, we had discussed the strategy on how to revive the party in Delhi, where we ruled under Sheilaji from 1998 to 2013.”
When asked, if Tanwar or Nayak will be accepted by the party leaders as their appointment may trigger controversy of overlooking other senior party leaders, he said, “The decision solely lies with Sonia Gandhi. And whatever she decides will be accpted by us.”
The Delhi unit currently has P.C. Chacko as in-charge of the national capital with three Working Presidents — Haroon Yusuf, Rajesh Lilothia and Devendra Yadav. Earlier this month, Maken, Chopra and Lovely had met Sonia at her residence and had shown their interest to lead the party ahead of the Assembly polls in the city in early 2020.
Maken had in 2018 written to Rahul Gandhi asking him to appoint another city unit chief as he was unable to give proper time to the party citing his ill-health. Meanwhile, Delhi in-charge P. C. Chacko had earlier said that Delhi will not get any outsider as its unit chief.
The Congress had ruled the city for three consecutive terms from 1998 to 2013 under Dikshit. However, the party lost the 2013 Assembly polls and was part of the alliance with AAP in the national capital for 49 days.
However, after the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP moved out of the alliance within 49 days, it won 67 out of 70 seats in the national capital in the 2015 polls. The Congress was completely wiped out in the 2015 polls as it drew a blank, while the BJP, which projected former IPS officer Kiran Bedi as its chief ministerial candidate, could manage to win only three seats.