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Rift in Delhi Cong wide open: PC Chacko curtails Sheila Dikshit’s powers


New Delhi, July 17: Stating that Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit is "not keeping well", AICC incharge PC Chacko on Wednesday authorised the three working presidents to hold meetings of district and block committee heads and take decisions, seen as an attempt to dilute her powers amid a deepening turf war between the two.

Sheila Dikshit

Chacko wrote to Dikshit apprising her of his decision following which she issued an "action note" of her own assigning different set of responsibilities to the working presidents.

Dikshit's aides said that she was in hospital for a routine check up and was discharged on Monday, and alleged that "rumours" were being spread about her health.

Veteran Cong leader demands removal of Sheila Dikshit as Delhi unit chiefVeteran Cong leader demands removal of Sheila Dikshit as Delhi unit chief

In his letter, Chacko expressed displeasure that his earlier directions were not implemented and some "so-called spokespersons" of the party were issuing "irresponsible" statements and questioning the decisions of All India Congress Committee (AICC) incharge.

He said that Assembly elections in Delhi are a few months away and the working of Delhi Congress Committee has to be streamlined as early as possible.

"As you are not keeping well and hospitalised and I did not receive any reply to my letters, in the interest of the party, I am authorising the working presidents to hold meetings of district and block presidents in their respective areas and take appropriate decisions to activate the party and report to you the decisions taken," Chacko wrote to Dikshit.

In the 'action note' signed by Dikshit, working president Haroon Yusuf was allocated supervision of East Delhi Municipal Corporation, four Assembly segments(Timarpur, Burari, Okhla and Jungpura), Mahila Congress, Sewa Dal and NSUI. Devender Yadav was assigned South Delhi Municipal Corporation and Youth Congress, while Rajesh Lilothia was allocated North Delhi Municipal Corporation and cells of Delhi Congress.

Sources said Chacko also wrote letters to the three working presidents asking them to monitor the party affairs in their respective areas and hold meetings and plan organisational programmes.

The differences between the two leaders had surfaced in Lok Sabha elections with Chacko, and former Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken supporting an alliance with AAP in Delhi which was strongly resisted by Dikshit and her followers.

The alliance did not come about, and Congress lost on all seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi. The tussle intensified as Dikshit dissolved all 280 block committees and started the process of selecting new block presidents by appointing district and block observers.

In a letter to Dikshit on last Sunday, Chacko overturned her decision to dissolve the block committees. "I am sorry to say that a senior leader of your status should not have flouted AICC rules by taking a decision leading to unrest and differences in the party. I have received numerous complaints from block presidents, ex DPCC presidents and working presidents against the action under your signature," he had written.

The three working presidents too wrote to Dikshit on last Sunday, expressing sadness that decisions were being taken "unilaterally" without even informing them.

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