The decks appeare to have been cleared for former Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president Subhash Chopra to again take over the reins of the party unit and barring some last-minute changes that may arise due to caste factors – as the BJP now has a Vaish president in Vijay Goel – much is being read into Mr. Chopra’s meeting with party president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday and within 40 minutes the latter meeting Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.
Sources in the Congress said it is rare for Ms. Gandhi to call over two leaders from a State like this for meetings without there being a connection. Though Mr. Chopra, who is also a former Delhi Assembly Speaker and a four-time MLA, has been in the contention for the post of president of DPCC since Ms. Dikshit fell out with J. P. Agarwal, the recent developments, many insist, can lead to a change of guard within a few days.
In fact, there was even some talk of Mr. Chopra having been sounded off about the change by party vice-president himself on Friday.
These developments have come at a time when several other Delhi Congress leaders, including Speaker Yoganand Shastri, were said to be in the race. Ms. Dikshit is learnt to be not too keen on having Mr. Chopra as the unit head in the Assembly election year. However, it was during Mr. Chopra’s term as president that the party had last swamped the Delhi municipal elections in 2002. At that time he was understood to have had great coordination with then general secretary in-charge of Delhi Kamal Nath, who is now Union Urban Development Minister.
But in view of the BJP going into the Assembly elections under Mr. Goel’s leadership, there is still strong lobbying going on for having either former Minister Mangat Ram Singhal or Narendra Nath as DPCC president. The other contenders are Rajesh Lilothia, who represents the SC category, and Naseeb Singh, a Gujjar MLA. In fact they have both served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Chief Minister in the past.