Politics

Ex Congress Delhi Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely Jumps Ship to BJP Ahead of MCD Poll

Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken expressed astonishment at the development, especially since Lovely was campaigning for the party even last night.

Arvinder Singh Lovely with Rahul Gandhi. Credit: PTI

Arvinder Singh Lovely with Rahul Gandhi. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: A war of words broke out in the Congress after former Delhi unit president and two-time Delhi minister Arvinder Singh Lovely joined the BJP and declared that “the party is finished”.

When Lovely, who had been campaigning for the Congress in the municipal polls till Monday night, suddenly emerged at the BJP national headquarters along with Delhi Youth Congress president Amit Malik, where they were welcomed into the party by national president Amit Shah in the presence of its Delhi president Manoj Tiwari, the Congress was taken completely aback.

Lovely, who was a minister in the Sheila Dikshit government from 2003 till 2013 and held portfolios like education and tourism, declared that “the child has died; the party is finished.” And he did not stop at that.

He indicated his displeasure at the functioning within the Congress by highlighting that another former Delhi minister, A.K. Walia, also recently threatened to quit the party while alleging that party tickets were being sold during the municipal elections. “Nobody took note of his grievances. Several leaders in the Congress are feeling suffocated for the past two years,” he said.

Responding to these developments, Dikshit slammed her former minister for being opportunistic. “When even leaders who got everything from the party leave, then whom do you trust?” she told a newspaper.

Dikshit also used the opportunity to get back at her trusted-lieutenant-turned-political rival Ajay Maken, saying, “The current Delhi Congress chief (Ajay Maken) is not able to reach out to leaders as needed, which is a reason why people are leaving the party.”

Maken expressed surprise at the development, especially since Lovely was actively campaigning for the party till last night. Maken said he was at a loss for words on how a person could give up his ideology like this.

As for Lovely’s statement that the party central leadership was unresponsive to the complaints of workers and leaders, he reminded the former minister that it was party president Sonia Gandhi who had stepped in to save his job when Dikshit had made up her mind to sack him from the government.

“I know for sure that Sheila ji wanted to drop him, but Sonia ji intervened. Congress gave him so much. He became the youngest minister in our party and remained so for ten years. Now he’s chosen to compromise with his ideology,” Maken said.