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Cong. workers vent ire against MLAs

By Our Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI SEPT. 29. Sharp differences among the people's elected representatives, senior leaders and those at the grassroots have come out into the open during the Delhi Congress leaders' interactions with the AICC observers. It is learnt that many grassroot workers have demanded replacement of their MLAs and also pointed out the discrepancies in the process of recommendation of the candidates at various levels.

During the past one week, AICC observers -- including senior party leaders, P.M. Sayeed, Harish Rawat, Naresh Phugalia and Selja -- have interacted with the office-bearers of Delhi Congress at the district and block levels. The meetings have proved to be fruitful in the sense that the AICC observers were able to get a positive feedback about the standing of the sitting MLAs and also the position of those who are seeking party nomination.

In many cases, the block presidents wanted the sitting MLAs to be replaced in view of their poor image and failure to take the people along during the last five years. Interestingly, some of the block presidents started pleading their case during the interaction and presented themselves as strong alternatives to the sitting MLAs.

For instance, in the Janakpuri district, the AICC observers faced a piquant situation. The block president, Maam Chand, reportedly protested to the observers that that district president, Lakhwinder Singh Chadha, who had been only appointed three days ago, had no right to recommend the name of Pradesh Election Committee (PEC) member, Ajit Singh Chadha. He is learnt to have said the district president had only come a few days ago and had little knowledge about the local leadership and the grassroot workers; therefore it was wrong on his part to recommend a name. He urged the observers not to take note of the recommendation and instead the block should have the final word on this issue. Both Mr. Ajit Chadha and Mr. Lakhwinder Singh Chadha are considered very close to the AICC general secretary, Ambika Soni, and have made it to these posts due to her blessings.

On the other hand, the party has been faced with another interesting situation in the Palam Assembly constituency. It is understood that the area block president, Mukund Ram Bhatt, reportedly told the AICC observers that the sitting party MLA, Mahinder Yadav, was unpopular among the people and did not deserve re-nomination. He brought to the notice of the observers that Mr. Yadav had stood surety for the controversial godman Chandraswami, despite knowing fully well that he was against the Congress and its leadership. Mr. Bhatt is understood to have told the AICC leaders that it was only a few months ago that Mr. Yadav withdrew his surety after realising that it could politically damage him within the party. It is also learnt that even the AICC in charge Delhi, Ahmed Patel, had summoned Mr. Yadav and had sought his explanation on the issue.

However, in some of the constituencies, the block presidents spoke highly of the MLAs and did not dispute their names. It is learnt that sitting MLAs like Transport Minister, Ajay Maken, Education Minister, Raj Kumar Chauhan, Health Minister, A.K. Walia, Finance Minister, Mahinder Singh Saathi, Hastasal MLA, Mukesh Sharma, Nasirpur MLA, Mahabal Mishra, Gandhi Nagar MLA, Arvinder Singh Lovely, Chief Whip, Mangat Ram Singhal, Vishwas Nagar MLA, Nasib Singh and others are the only names recommended by their respective blocks and districts.

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