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Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi in a file photo.

Cong reviews Delhi LS poll readiness, urges leaders to bolster presence in 7 seats

During the meeting, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge and former party chief Rahul Gandhi insisted on the importance of party leaders maintaining unity and staying connected with the people.

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Delhi's Congress leaders on Wednesday (August 16) met with the party's senior leadership to assess their readiness for the Lok Sabha elections. They also deliberated strategies to reinforce the organisation across all seven Lok Sabha constituencies.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and former party chief Rahul Gandhi, who were present at the meeting, asked the party leaders to remain united and connected with people, sources said.

Delhi Congress president Anil Chaudhary and former Union minister Ajay Maken, who were also present during the meeting, pointed out to the issues relating to a possible alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the sources said.

"In view of the Lok Sabha elections, a consultation was held with the leaders of the Delhi Congress today. Revitalisation of Delhi Congress is our priority, in which participation of all leaders and workers is necessary. We had made Delhi prosperous and happy, our struggle for the people of Delhi continues even further," Kharge said after the meeting.

Former party chief Rahul Gandhi said in a Facebook post that a meeting of Delhi Congress leaders was held under the chairmanship of Congress president Kharge.

"The Congress is dedicated to strengthening the voice of the people of Delhi and ensuring the progress of Delhi," he said.

AICC general secretary K C Venugopal said on X, "Attended the meeting to review preparations of Delhi PCC for the Lok Sabha elections, chaired by Sh. Mallikarjun Kharge ji, along with Sh. Rahul Gandhi ji and senior leaders from Delhi." "The Modi-led BJP has proven to be disastrous for Delhi. The people also recall INC's glorious 15-year stint in Delhi during which the city transformed into a modern, vibrant metropolis. We are confident that the people will extend their full support to us in 2024," Venugopal said.

All the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi are currently held by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Delhi Congress chief Anil Chaudhary said it was the Congress which protested against liquor policy during 'Pol Khol Yatra', which led to the arrest of (former minister) Satyendar Jain. The Congress will always question Arvind Kejriwal whenever it concerns the safety and protection of the people of Delhi, he said.

"Today's meeting was not on alliance formation in Delhi, nothing was discussed about it. The AAP can make assumptions but decision on alliance will be taken by the AICC central leadership and it will be announced by them. We, as an opposition party here, will raise questions about corruptions," he said.

The AICC in-charge for Delhi affairs of Congress, Deepak Babaria, said Wednesday's meeting was held to discuss the party's strategy for the forthcoming parliamentary elections and all senior party leaders and workers were present at the meeting.

All leaders representing various sections of society put forth their issues and felt that the AAP government is "pushing Delhi behind" after the progress made during the Sheila Dikshit government, he said.

"The Delhi Congress put forth their resolution that the anti-people policies of the Delhi government of AAP would be opposed at the ground level," he said.

Asked whether it was decided with whom will the party form its alliance in Delhi, Babaria said, "We did not discuss that issue in today's meeting and it was only discussed on how to strengthen the party in Delhi".

He said the formation of alliance, if any in Delhi, will be finalised by the party high command.

"We all decided to oppose the double-engine of both AAP government in Delhi and the BJP government at the Centre," Babaria said.

"Whatever promises he has made to people of Delhi, he has not fulfilled, be it on any issues," he alleged.

He said Gandhi and Kharge are senior leaders of the INDIA alliance and they will decide on the alliance and "we have left our decision on them".

"We have been suffering for the last several years in Delhi and we are preparing for the elections. We will have our own candidates and they will have their own candidates," he said.

The Delhi Congress will continue to raise issues of the people of Delhi, he said, adding that Gandhi has "told us to reach out to people and stressed on being among the people of Delhi".

Delhi Congress leader Alka Lamba said in the over three-hour meeting, we discussed the shortcomings in the organisation and prepare ourselves for the Lok Sabha elections.

"We have been directed to work strongly in all the seven seats," she said.

"No decision has been taken on whether to have alliance, but we have been asked to prepare ourselves on all seven seats.

"We will go to the people strongly after preparing ourselves properly in all seven seats," she said.

Lamba said "Congress votes have gone to the AAP" and many senior AAP leaders are in jail for corruption.

"We have been asked to prepare ourselves on all seven seats and remain strong on all these seats," she told reporters.

The AAP has reacted strongly to the comments made by some Congress leaders claiming that they will contest in all seven seats, saying there is no point of INDIA alliance if Congress has decided to contest alone in Delhi in Lok Sabha polls.

"If the Congress has already decided to not form an alliance with us, then it is of no use for us to attend the next 'INDIA' alliance meeting. Our top leadership will decide whether or not we'll attend the next meeting," AAP leader Priyanka Kakkar said.

(With agency inputs)

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