Senior leader Ajay Maken quits Congress months before Lok Sabha polls
A few months before the Lok Sabha election, senior Congress leader Ajay Maken has resigned as the party's Delhi unit chief citing health reasons. Maken told PTI his resignation has been accepted and he would now work for the party in preparing it for the 2019 general election, due by May. "I had tendered my resignation in September itself. I met Rahul ji yesterday to insist again (to be relieved as Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee chief). "I said DPCC president should be 100 per cent fit before elections. I would now work for the party and prepare it for the Lok Sabha election," the 54-year-old leader told PTI.
Asked if his resignation has been accepted, Maken said, "Yes, Yes. That has happened" and added he was undergoing treatment for an orthopaedic ailment. Maken's resignation assumes significance amid speculation of a possible alliance between the Congress and the AAP in Delhi for 2019. He was strongly opposed to any tie-up with the ruling Aam Aadmi Party in the national capital. Sources said party president Rahul Gandhi, Delhi Congress party affairs in-charge P C Chacko and Maken held a meeting on Thursday evening and Gandhi accepted his resignation.
Later, Maken took to Twitter to announce his resignation. He had taken over as the Delhi unit chief after the party lost the 2015 assembly election. "After the 2015 Delhi assembly elections, as its Delhi unit president, I received a lot of love and support from Congress workers, the media covering the party and our leader Rahul Gandhi ji. It was not easy in these difficult times. Thank you all," he tweeted. The Congress in September last year had denied reports of Maken's resignation and said he had gone abroad for a medical checkup.
The party sources said former chief minister Sheila Dikshit could replace Maken as Congress's Delhi unit chief. She has maintained that the party high command's decision on sealing an alliance in Delhi will be accepted by her. The AAP and the Congress have not yet denied the speculation. Congress leaders Yoganand Shastri, Rajkumar Chauhan, Haroon Yusuf and Chatar Singh could also be considered as Maken's replacement, the sources said.
(With inputs from agencies.)