MCD Election 2017: 'The Child Is Dead,' Says Top Delhi Congress Leader Arvinder Lovely As He Joins BJP

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Arvinder Singh Lovely was inducted into the BJP by party chief Amit Shah.


New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Former Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Lovely joined BJP on Tuesday
  2. Mr Lovely was an important minister in Sheila Dikshit's government
  3. Amit Malik, a Delhi Youth Congress leader, also joined BJP
In an exit timed to hurt, former Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely today walked out of his party and joined the BJP, declaring that the Congress had "died" under the present leadership. The former Delhi minister was welcomed into the BJP by party chief Amit Shah and its Delhi chief Manoj Tiwari. Mr Lovely has joined the BJP five days before crucial civic elections in Delhi.

"The child has died. The party is finished," the 48-year-old leader said after switching parties, referring to the Congress of which he was a part since his days as a student leader. It was an attack on Ajay Maken, the Congress' current Delhi chief. 

Mr Lovely was an important minister in the Sheila Dikshit-led Congress government that ruled Delhi for 15 years.  Ms Diskhit accused Mr Lovely of betraying the Congress. 

"This is sad. The Congress gave them respect and honour - he was not only a minister but a state president. Now, when the party finds itself in less glorious days, they are leaving the party. I think this is treachery," the former chief minister said.

Along with Mr Lovely, a Delhi Youth Congress leader Amit Malik also joined the BJP today. Mr Lovely referred to allegations made by another senior Congress leader AK Walia about party tickets for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi or MCD elections being "sold" but rued that no one listened to the veteran.

"Nobody took note of his grievances. Several leaders in the Congress are feeling suffocated for the past two years," Mr Lovely said.

Last month Dr Walia, a former Delhi health minister had offered to resign. Apart from his allegations on MCD candidates, he also said he was upset because "no one listens."

Mr Lovely and Dr Walia belong to what is now the old guard in the Delhi Congress; the new is represented by Mr Maken and his team, who are making a renewed attempt to resurrect the Congress, which has won no seats in the last two elections in Delhi - the national election of 2014, swept by the BJP, and the assembly elections a year later, swept by Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party.

It's a tough battle. The BJP has dominated the MCD for years and has it made it clear it will fight hard to retain that record. For AAP, Delhi's civic elections are do-or-die battle as it struggles to remain politically relevant after a poor being trounced in the Goa and Punjab assembly elections this year. It now hopes to consolidate its hold in Delhi.

Elections to the MCD - now split into three civic bodies - will be held on Sunday, April 23. Votes will be counted on April 26.

(with inputs from PTI)

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