Maken’s resignation was finally accepted a day after he, along with party’s Delhi in-charge PC Chacko, met Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
New Delhi: In a major jolt to Congress ahead of the 2019 crucial Lok Sabha elections, former Union minister Ajay Maken resigned as the party’s Delhi chief citing health reasons on Friday.
He had offered to step down from the city unit earlier as well, saying he was not able to give his full service as he was suffering from severe back pain.
Mr Maken’s resignation was finally accepted a day after he, along with party’s Delhi in-charge PC Chacko, met Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
The 54-year-old leader had taken over as Congress’s Delhi unit chief four years ago after the party lost the 2015 Assembly elections. Later, Mr Maken took to Twitter to announce his resignation.
In September last year, the party had officially denied reports of Mr Maken’s resignation and had said that he had gone abroad for medical check up. His resignation assumes significance amid speculations of a possible alliance between Congress and AAP in Delhi for 2019. He was strongly opposed to any seat sharing arrangement with AAP in the national capital.
AICC incharge of the Delhi unit, P.C. Chacko, also confirmed Mr Maken’s resignation, saying a search is on to find his successor.
“Maken is no longer continuing (as Delhi Congress president). We are looking for his successor,” Mr Chacko said.
He said that in a meeting with Mr Gandhi on Thursday, Mr Maken again insisted on his resignation on health grounds which was “long pending” and asked to be relieved from the post, for which Mr Gandhi concurred.
Speculations are rife that former chief minister Sheila Dikshit may replace Mr Maken as the Congress’s Delhi unit president.
She has maintained that the party high command’s decision on alliance will be accepted by her. AAP and Congress have not denied the speculations yet.
A section within the party feel that any election in Delhi has to be fought on the developmental activities that Mr Dikshit had made in her 15-year tenure in Delhi.
Rumours are also rife that Congress leaders and former city ministers Dr A.K. Walia, Yoganand Shastri, Rajkumar Chauhan, and Haroon Yusuf; veteran local leader Chattar Singh; and party’s state unit chief spokesperson and head of the party’s women wing Sharmistha Mukherjee could also be considered for the post of the party’s Delhi unit chief. “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 Mr Maken’s resignation and said he had gone abroad for a medical checkup.