Congress throws rebels out of party

The Asian Age.

Metros, Delhi

73 members expelled for anti-party activities in MCD poll.

Delhi unit chief Ajay Maken

New Delhi: The Delhi Congress on Wednesday suspended 73 members for six years after debacle in the last month’s municipal elections.

The action was taken for defying party’s directions and contesting against official Congress candidates or fielding their relatives in the MCD elections, chairman of Delhi Congress unit’s disciplinary committee Narendra Nath said.

“The decision to expel the rebels and their relatives who fought MCD elections against party candidates was taken unanimously in a meeting of the disciplinary committee,” Mr Nath said.

The Congress had managed to win only 31 of the 272 wards in south, north and east municipal corporations. In the run-up to the April elections, all the three main parties, the BJP, AAP and Congress, faced similar issues. But this is the first major action by any of them.

Mr Nath said that the party is also going through complaints of anti-party activities by senior party leaders in the municipal polls and will issue show cause notices after scrutiny of the complaints received from candidates who contested the last month’s polls. Those who have been expelled from the party include four former councillors.

“A curious case was that of sitting Nangli Sakrawati councillor Satender Singh Rana. He was given party ticket from Chhawla ward but he fielded his wife against our candidate from Nangli ward,” Mr Nath said. Similarly, the then sitting Kasturba Nagar ward councillor Ravi Kalshi who was denied ticket in MCD polls fielded his daughter-in-law against Congress. Both were expelled, he said.

The rift within the party came out in open during the ticket distribution for MCD polls this year.

Former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit and other Congress leaders had openly blamed Congress’ Delhi unit chief Ajay Maken of failing to take senior leaders along. While Ms Dikshit and former Delhi minister Harun Yusuf had stayed away from the party campaign, former Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely had joined BJP days ahead of the municipal elections on April 23. The BJP registered an impressive victory by winning 181 wards, while first timer Aam Admi Party won only 41 wards in the polls.