New Delhi, Jan 18: Delhi Congress Chief Arvinder Singh Lovely will not contest the upcoming Assembly elections in the national capital, where the party has been pushed to the third place behind BJP and AAP, and instead look after its organisation of the polls, AICC announced today.
"The party has requested Lovely, candidate from the 61 Gandhi Nagar constituency, to withdraw from the contest and look after the organisation of the elections," senior party leader P C Chacko, in-charge of party affairs in Delhi, told reporters here.
He said that the new candidate for the seat, which has been a pocket borough for Lovely, would be announced tomorrow. Lovely's candidature for the February 7 elections had been announced in the very first list released by Congress, which also had the names of the seven other sitting MLAs of the party.
In the Assembly polls held in December of 2013, Congress had managed to win only eight seats in Delhi. Addressing a press conference here along with AICC General Secretary Ajay Maken, Chacko dismissed suggestions that Lovely had himself opted out of the fray.
"It is not a decision by Lovely. It is the decision of the party, the party has directed him," he said. Lovely was asked to look after the organisation of the polls in view of the fact that besides the PCC chief, there was no organisation in place in Delhi Congress, Chacko said.
Lovely was made the PCC chief some 10 months back but there have been no other appointments to the PCC in view of the organisational elections all over the country which are due soon.
Asked, meanwhile, as to why Lovely was then named as a contestant in the first place, Chacko said that the party had renominated all eight sitting MLAs.
Reports earlier had it that in a major setback to the party ahead of the Assembly elections, Lovely has decided not to contest the polls.
AICC was so far evasive on the issue. Maken, who is also the campaign in-charge of the party in Delhi, dismissed speculation that Lovely had opted out of the fray after he was made the "face" of the party in Delhi.
"Those who follow Delhi politics are well aware that myself, Lovely and Haroon Yusuf are a trio working together for the past 10 to 15 years," Maken remarked.