New Delhi: In a major embarrassment for Congress, ahead of the upcoming Assembly polls, party high command on Sunday announced that Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee chief (DPCC) Arvinder Singh Lovely will not contest the elections.
Making a formal announcement, while addressing a press conference here, Congress leader PC Chacko said, " Arvinder Singh Lovely has withdrawn from the elections and will look after the organisation of the elections in Delhi. In his place, we are finalising a contestant and we will be finalising a name by tomorrow."
"The dearth of leadership at the Pradesh Congress Committee to organise these polls has resulted in our requesting him to not contest this election. It was a party decision and was taken in order to organise the party at the grassroot level," he added.
Lovely was scheduled to fight the polls from Gandhinagar constituency. According to reports party top brass is likely to announce the replacement for Lovely tomorrow.
Notably, the decision comes days after senior Congress leader Ajay Maken, a former Union Minister and All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary was projected as the face in the Delhi polls.
Meanwhile, Lovely said that he is no conflict with Congress after Ajay Maken was made the face of party's Delhi campaign.
The Congress leader further said he had himself proposed Maken's name for heading the party campaign in Delhi. He further stated that he and Maken have a very good understanding of each other. "Ajay Maken is the chairman of the campaign committee. He was given that post on my suggestion. The three of us - Maken ji, Haroon Yusuf and I will campaign in Delhi together," he stated.
"I am not bigger than the party, ready to take on any responsibility. It is a great honour for me that the party has put me in charge of the organisation of the entire poll campaign in Delhi. There is no question of my being upset with the party. The Congress will contest these elections united and will form the next government," Lovely added.
Congress leader Ajay Maken also denied that Lovely had resigned because the latter felt upset at the former being made the face of the Congress campaign in the capital.
"The people who feel that Lovely ji has resigned because of that reason perhaps do not remember that Lovely ji, Haroon Yusuf and I are a team that dates back to more than 10 years," he stated.
Lovely was to contest the upcoming polls from the Gandhi Nagar constituency.
The elections for the 70-member Delhi Assembly will be held in a single phase on February 7, with the counting of votes set to take place on February 10.