Delhi Cong chief quits over rout, support to AAP

Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) chief J P Agarwal on Sunday submitted his resignation from the post to the leadership in the wake of the party's drubbing in the recently concluded elections in Delhi at the hands of the BJP and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Sources in the party said his resignation was yet to be accepted by the high command.

The Congress, on December 8, suffered its worst-ever performance in the national capital, managing to win on eight of 70 seats. The party went to polls with 43 MLAs. Sources said Agarwal mentioned the party's defeat in his resignation letter to AICC president Sonia Gandhi.

Senior functionaries in the DPCC also claimed that Agarwal had not supported the party's decision to give the AAP outside support and form the government. On Friday, in a letter to Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung, eight Congress MLAs had guaranteed outside support to the AAP to form a government. The letter bore Agarwal's signature and, among the reasons, cited avoiding another election in Delhi.

Agarwal, as the organisational head, and former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit have shared a strained equation at best even before the run-up to the polls. Earlier this year, during the Congress chintan shivir in Jaipur, Agarwal reportedly brought up the lack of coordination between the Delhi government and the DPCC.

After the electoral wipe-out, leaders in the erstwhile Delhi government and the DPCC took pot shots at each other. While Dikshit blamed the party for not supporting her during the campaign, the DPCC alleged it was kept out of the loop and that the campaign was run out of Dikshit's residence and not the party headquarters.

Incidentally, a Congress press conference held on Friday to announce support to the AAP was held in former Cabinet minister Haroon Yusuf's house and not the DPCC office, a stone's throw away. A senior DPCC functionary said, "It was very hard working in a system where one group constantly supersedes the other. If the party wins, it is the achievement of the Delhi government and Dikshit, but otherwise the organisation is to blame. It cannot work like this," he said.

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