Spec­u­la­tion rife Maken may lose DPCC post

Congress’ loss in the MCD polls and last month’s Bawana by­elec­tion trig­gered spec­u­la­tion that he may be sacked.

The Sunday Guardian - - Nation -

In the af­ter­math of the Congress’ loss in the re­cent Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion of Delhi ( MCD) elec­tions and last month’s Bawana by- elec­tion, Delhi Pradesh Congress Com­mit­tee (DPCC) pres­i­dent Ajay Maken is seek­ing to play down all spec­u­la­tion of get­ting sacked from his post.

Re­frain­ing from div­ing into de­tails, Maken only said, “My op­po­nents un­der­es­ti­mate me.”

Sp e c u l a t i o n a b o u t Maken’s sack­ing has es­sen­tially em­anated from the Sheila Dik­shit camp. Dik- shit has been a long-stand­ing ri­val of Maken. Peo­ple close to the Dik­shit camp are of the opinion that Maken has out­lived his util­ity and should be im­me­di­ately re­moved. Sup­port­ers of J. P. Ag­gar­wal, for­mer DPCC head, have also voiced their con­cern about the di­vi­sions that have taken place un­der Maken’s lead­er­ship and want to see Maken re­placed with some­one who can take the party ahead in an united fashion.

Congress sources said that spec­u­la­tion over Maken’s sack­ing started due to his prox­im­ity to Congress vi­cepres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi. Ac­cord­ing to sources, de- spite Maken’s close­ness to Rahul Gandhi, he had been find­ing it hard to get ap­point­ments with Gandhi.

Peo­ple aware of the top lead­er­ship’s func­tion­ing are of the view that se­nior lead­ers in the party gen­er­ally cut down on ap­point­ments for peo­ple they are un­happy with.

Maken’s role as DPCC chief came un­der se­vere scru­tiny af­ter the Congress lost the MCD elec­tions and Bawana by­elec­tion. While Maken main­tained that Congress had in­creased its per­cent­age of vote share in sev­eral con­stituen­cies, se­nior lead­ers wanted to see re­sults in terms of the con­stituen­cies won.

In Au­gust, Bawana con­stituency, one of the largest in Delhi by way of num­ber of electors, went for a by­poll and saw a 45% voter turnout, which was much lower than the 2015 Asssem­bly elec­tions that recorded a 62% polling.

In the Bawana by­poll, Congress was pushed to the third spot with 31,919 votes, while BJP came sec­ond with 35,834 votes and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) se­cured the seat with 59,886 votes. On the other hand, in the Ra­jouri Gar­den by­poll, held ear­lier, Congress man­aged to fin­ish sec­ond, while the BJP wrested the seat from AAP.

While in the 2014 Lok Sabha elec­tions, the Congress’ vote share was 11.26%, it came down to 7.87% in the 2015 Assem­bly elec­tions. In the 2017 by­polls, Congress’ vote per­cent­age jumped to 24.21%. On the other hand, the BJP’s vote share was 47% in the 2014 Lok Sabha elec­tions and the AAP’s was 38.12%. In the 2015 Assem­bly elec­tions, the BJP’s vote share was 31.40% and the AAP’s was 57.91%.

Com­ment­ing on spec­u­la­tion of Maken’s sack­ing, a source close to Maken said, “The cur­rent DPCC pres­i­dent is a loyal sol­dier of Congress. He was given a role and he per­formed well. He is go­ing to stay in DPCC for the next Assem­bly elec­tions and will run for the Delhi Chief Min­is­ter’s post. Maken has met Rahul Gandhi re­cently; these spec­u­la­tions hold no truth.”

Ajay Maken

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