Congress hit by exits ahead of Delhi MCD election: When Generals leave, it means hard times for party

In a major setback for the Congress ahead of the Delhi MCD election, one of its most popular faces--Arvinder Singh Lovely--joined the BJP.

A day after joining the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), Arvinder Singh Lovely did not mince any words while launching a sharp attack on the Congress, a party he was associated with for more than 30 years.

"This is not the same Congress that I had joined 31 years ago," Lovely said, who was also a senior minister in the cabinet of Sheila Dikshit.

Lovely's exit from the Congress just before the keenly-fought MCD election in Delhi is a big blow to the party, and raises questions on its leadership.

Along with Arvinder Singh Lovely, Delhi Youth Congress President Amit Malik also joined the BJP on Tuesday.

QUESTIONS ON LEADERSHIP

In a direct attack on Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken, Arvinder Singh Lovely said that he was neglected by the party in the last two years.

"Today, he (Ajay Maken) is crying, but had he thought about me before, this situation could have been prevented. I was sitting at home for two years; Maken did not care about our friendship," Lovely said.

Ajay Maken reportedly broke down when asked about Lovely's exit from the party during an interview with a television news channel.

Arvinder Singh Lovely said that he did not wish to become a liability like Sheila Dikshit.

Like Lovely, Dikshit, a former chief minister of Delhi, too blamed the leadership's inability to reach out to everyone for people leaving the party.

"The current Delhi Congress chief is not able to reach out to leaders as is needed and that is a reason for people leaving," Dikshit was d by ANI.

Amit Malik too pointed fingers at the Congress leadership for his exit.

Malik was d by ANI as saying: "We took part in every protest, held dharnas to keep the Congress relevant, but when we asked tickets for 20 people from the Youth Congress, they refused".

NO LESSONS LEARNT FROM GOA?

The signs are ominous for the Congress.

In the recently concluded Assembly election in Goa, the Congress despite winning more seats than the BJP failed to form the government.

Its MLA Vishwajit Rane skipped the crucial floor test in the Assembly, thereby reducing the Congress' strength and paving way for the BJP to prove its majority in the House.

Soon, Vishwajit Rane, son of senior Congressman Pratapsingh Rane, left the party and joined the BJP.

"Leaders like me will start leaving Congress all over the country because people who come as observers are unable to assess situation," Rane had told The Indian Express, hitting out at Digvijaya Singh, who was Congress' in-charge in Goa.

WHEN BJP BAGGED HIMANTA BISWA SARMA

Nearly a year-and-a-half back, the Congress saw another of its top leader quitting the party and joining the BJP. In September 2015, a few months before the Assam Assembly election, Himanta Biswa Sarma joined the BJP after a tug-of-war with then chief minister Tarun Gogoi over the top post.

In a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Sarma had reportedly written that "family-centric politics" and "lack of democracy" in the party forced him to quit.

In 2016, the Bhartiya Janata Party won the Assembly election in Assam and formed the government--a victory that was believed to be engineered by Himanta Biswa Sarma.

With senior Congress leaders quitting the party just ahead of the MCD election, the party must hope that history doesn't repeat itself this time.

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Congress leader and former Delhi minister Arvinder Singh Lovely joins BJP ahead of MCD polls