Cong.dissidents to chart new course

NEW DELHI, APRIL 29. The political equations within the ruling Congress(I) in Delhi are undergoing dramatic changes with many seasoned leaders and MLAs, mainly of the rebel group, deciding to charter an independent course and giving up the politics of confrontation and work for their constituencies.

Not that these have come as a surprise. This had been in the offing for quite some time and the Budget Session proved to be the turning point. It not only gave birth to new equations and realignment of groups, but also saw some MLAs standing up against their senior leaders in protest against their over-bearing attitude. The unexpected gainer in this scenario has been the Chief Minister, Ms. Sheila Dikshit, in whose lap many dissident MLAs have fallen.

In another related development, eight to 10 MLAs, mainly belonging of dissident faction, have decided to form a separate group, and concentrate on getting developmental works done and follow the path of reconciliation. These MLAs are of the view that there was need for a separate lobby as their association with the senior disgruntled leaders had not borne any results. ``All throughout, these leaders, who have not even got the mandate of the people, have been deceiving us to promote their own selfish interests. This no longer would be tolerated,'' a senior MLA stated.

Recent days have witnessed a sense of disillusionment among various sections and the Government. While some dissident MLAs distanced themselves from senior leaders, the loyalists have taken the baton from them and were recently seen in action after the announcement of the new Excise Policy, although for different reasons. It is understood that a prominent dissident leader from North-West Delhi has reached a compromise with the Chief Minister and expressed disgust at the attitude of some senior leaders.

A number of MLAs supporting the DPCC(I) chief, Mr. Subhash Chopra, are feeling let down and are having second thoughts on continuing in the same camp. ``Mr. Chopra is surrounded by leaders who are no longer relevant in Delhi politics. In the process he has distanced himself from his loyalists. It is high time he realised his strengths and weakness. He has to chart out an independent course which will be highly beneficial for him,'' another MLA added.

At the same time, it is being pointed out that these senior leaders started taking Mr.Chopra seriously only after he successfully led a campaign against the closure of industries in the Capital and took on the Union Urban Development Minister, Mr. Jagmohan. They feared that Mr.Chopra could hog the limelight and they faced the danger of being sidelined. At that time, young MLAs were supporting and backing Mr.Chopra in his crusade. But with the entry of these leaders, these MLAs suddenly withdrew, leaving Mr. Chopra handicapped.

On the other hand, a new group of MLAs is all set to work behind the scene to ensure that their voice is heard inside and outside the Assembly. These MLAs propose to take up jointly the cause of their constituencies and hold parleys with the government. ``Our basic job would be to work for the developmental activities and remain neutral. We are neither with the Chief Minister nor with the dissidents. We will decide our own course of action and it would be conveyed to the party high command soon,'' stated a senior leader.

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