Bypoll result opens window of opportunity for Congress in Delhi

  • Vishal Kant, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 18, 2016 14:10 IST
Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken (extreme right) strikes a victorious pose with his party’s winners in the municipal bypoll on Tuesday. (Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)

After its encouraging results in the municipal bypolls, the Congress plans to strengthen the organisation with an eye on the main civic polls scheduled for April 2017.

The party drew a blank in the 2014 Lok Sabha and 2015 assembly polls but managed to win four municipal wards in the bypolls. It also increased its vote share from about 9% to 25% this time.

Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken said the party would prepare a proper road map for the 2017 elections.

“In the coming six months, we will have a road map with concrete proposals for solid waste management, how to improve the Capital’s sanitation, how to strengthen the MCDs’ finances and how to tackle the parking and hoarding mafia,” Maken said.

To expand the organisational network, the party leadership began its restructuring exercise last year and it started showing results. “The party doubled the office of block presidents to 280 last year, making it almost consonant with the 272 municipal wards,” a senior party leader said.

Read | AAP’s Delhi MCD victory isn’t all good news

Party insiders said Tuesday’s results boosted the morale of the party workers, which was evident in the Pradesh Congress office on DDU Marg.

Firecrackers returned to the party office after a long time, so did several party veterans in a jubilant mood.

Delhi in-charge PC Chacko, former DPPC chief Arvinder Singh, former minister Haroon Yusuf, ex-MPs Sandeep Dikshit, Sajjan Kumar and Mahabal Mishra, and former party legislators Devender Yadav, Mukesh Sharma and Barkha Singh were present when Maken introduced the victorious candidates to the press.

Sources in the party said the victory would elevate the stature of Maken in the party. Reports of infighting had been making way to the press ever since Maken was made party chief after the washout in the 2015 Delhi assembly elections under the leadership of Arvinder Singh.

“Tuesday’s result will settle the line of hierarchy for now,” a senior party leader said.

Read | MCD bypolls: AAP may demand report from legislators

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