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Lovely rejoins BJP, stabs Congress the second time in the back

Former Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president and four-time MLA, Arvinder Singh Lovely, rejoined the BJP along with four other supporters on Saturday, triggering off speculation regarding a deal with the Saffron Brigade. It is the second time that Lovely has stabbed the Congress in the back while looking for greener pastures in the BJP, a […]

Former Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president and four-time MLA, Arvinder Singh Lovely, rejoined the BJP along with four other supporters on Saturday, triggering off speculation regarding a deal with the Saffron Brigade. It is the second time that Lovely has stabbed the Congress in the back while looking for greener pastures in the BJP, a move that has baffled his supporters and erstwhile colleagues. A follower of Sheila Dikshit, Lovely had served in her Council of Ministers holding important portfolios. After the first time when he had left, in disgust, over his sharp differences with Senior leader Ajay Maken, top Congress functionaries including Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi had called him up to inquire about his future plans. The Union Home Minister Amit Shah, while welcoming him to the party fold had stated at that time, that after Himanta Biswa Sharma, Lovely was the best asset that had moved towards the BJP from the Congress.

The Sikh who was immensely popular in his Gandhi Nagar assembly segment of the capital, was seeking to be the party nominee from North East Delhi, but because of his flip flops and inability to put forward his claim, the seat was given to Kanhaiya Kumar, much to his surprise. Kanhaiya is said to have the backing of Rahul Gandhi and thus no one in the party was in any position to reconsider this decision. His opponents in the party are of the view that Lovely was in touch with the BJP all along and his movement back to the Saffron brigade was very well thought through. He was apparently encouraged by his close friend, Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, who is now the BJP nominee from South Delhi.

At one point of time, Lovely and Ajay Maken were regular visitors to Bidhuri’s farm house beyond Chhatarpur and would invariably discuss the political situation with him. Differences with Ajay Maken came up when he had tried to undermine his position. This was the first time. This time around, Lovely was pursuing his politics with support and guidance to begin with from senior leader Subhash Chopra. It was Subhash, who had convinced the High Command to make him the DPCC Chief for the second time. However, Subhash feels that he along with many others has been betrayed by him and they have no option but to criticize his move which amounts to a very serious breach of faith. Lovely’s stated stand is that he was against the proposal for a tie-up with the Aam Aadmi Party in the capital, since it was not in any way going to help in rebuilding the Congress in the city.

However, the fact is that he was a party to this decision and thus cannot complain. His resignation had jolted the party workers but his rejoining the BJP, has exposed his true character, his former colleagues feel. There is speculation that he could not have joined without any kind of pre-arrangement with the BJP and this could include changing the East Delhi nominee, Harsh Malhotra and replacing him with Lovely. This sounds very unlikely since there is a lot of resentment within the BJP over his entry and amidst a growing feeling that he has been foisted on them. If the BJP declines to give him the ticket, Lovely’s political future would be virtually over. The BJP would not trust him since he had rejoined the Congress and now the Congress shall call him a traitor after he has gone back to the Saffron Brigade. The Congress on its part has also not handled the aftermath of his resignation appropriately.

Devendra Yadav, an upcoming leader, considered close to Ajay Maken, has been made the interim president. He is a fine party activist but the decision has put him in a position which is very awkward. On one hand, he is the party incharge in Punjab where the Congress is contesting against AAP on all seats. Now as the interim president of the DPCC, he shall have to deal with a situation in the capital where the Congress and AAP are contesting in alliance with each other. Common political wisdom would have been that someone else should have been made the interim president in Delhi since Yadav was in the midst of elections in Punjab. He could have been made a permanent president in Delhi, after the polls, to help the Congress prepare for the Assembly elections, which shall be held next year. But strange are the ways of the Congress and the logic of bringing him is not good enough to justify his appointment. In the view of many in the Congress, a senior leader such as Ajay Maken could have been given the additional responsibility for the time being.

Lovely’s moving away from the Congress would not make any material difference to the outcome of the polls where the BJP is locked in a close contest in some of the seven constituencies of the city. The AAP-Congress formation is formidable and it is not that Lovely’s departure would attract more Congressmen. In any case, even if more Congress activists join the BJP bandwagon, it is completely immaterial since all of them are deadwood; the party has no representation in the Assembly or in Parliament from the capital for nearly ten years. While the BJP leadership has a reason to rejoice over this coup, its cadres do not share this view on Lovely. Arvinder Singh Lovely, has in the middle of elections done, what no person holding his position would have ever done. The question being asked is Et Tu Lovely.

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2024 Lok Sabha electionArvinder Singh LovelyBJPCongressTDGIndia Herald