New Delhi, Oct 23 (IANS) With little over three months to go for the crucial Delhi Assembly polls and with an eye on the Punjabi and Purvanchali vote share, the Congress on Wednesday appointed senior party leader Subhash Chopra as the new Delhi Congress chief and Kirti Azad as the new campaign committee chairman.
The names of the two leaders were approved by interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi, party General Secretary (organisation) K.C. Venugopal said in a release.
The Delhi Congress President’s post fell vacant in July this year following the death of former Delhi Chief Minister and senior party leader Sheila Dikshit.
The new appointments came at a crucial time as the 70-member Delhi Assembly will go to the polls in February next year.
A party leader said that Chopra was given the top post as he had earlier led the party in the city and his experience of handling party affairs will come handy in the run-up to the Assembly elections.
The Congress leader said that by appointing Chopra, the Congress is eyeing the substantial vote share of the Punjabi community in the city, while Azad has been made the chairman of the campaign committee keeping in mind the vote share of the large number of Purvanchalis residing in the national capital.
Azad is also expected to counter the effect of Delhi BJP chief and Lok Sabha MP Manoj Tiwari, who is immensely popular among the Purvanchali community.
Speaking to IANS, Azad said, “It is a very challenging role and I look forward to take up the challenge. I thank the (interim) Congress President (Sonia Gandhi) and the party for giving me this responsibility.”
Azad, who was a member of the World Cup-winning Indian cricket team of 1983 and is the son of former Bihar Chief Minister Bhagwat Jha Azad, said that he would work with “everyone”.
“I will try to take Congress back to its glorious past, something which the party enjoyed at the time of Sheilaji and other senior leaders,” Azad said.
On his plans to bring Purvanchali votes back to the Congress, Azad, the former BJP MP who unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha polls from Dhanbad on a Congress ticket, said, “I have certain ideas which I will work on. I cannot say it in public, but I definitely have plans.
According to Congress leaders, besides Chopra, the names of three other candidates were also in the fray for the top post of the city unit. Former Union Minister Ajay Maken, who was replaced by Dikshit as the Delhi Congress chief, was also in the race along with J.P. Agarwal and Dikshit’s son Sandeep Dikshit.
The Congress, which was in power in Delhi for three consecuritve terms from 1998 to 2013 under the late Sheila Diikshit, was dethroned in the 2013 Assembly polls.
The party was then completely wiped out in 2015, as the debutant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) sweeped the polls winning 67 seats, while three went to the BJP.