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Last Updated : Feb 04, 2020 07:55 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Delhi Election | Subhash Chopra: The veteran Congressman and old guard loyalist facing an uphill task

Chopra is a three-time legislator from Kalkaji, and has also served as Delhi assembly Speaker

Subhash Chopra (Image: PTI)
Subhash Chopra (Image: PTI)

Subhash Chopra was appointed as the Delhi Congress chief in October 2019, months before the forthcoming Delhi Assembly polls, but his appointment, according to reports, was more for his acceptability within the party than for his leadership skills.

That, according to Congress leaders from Delhi, should come as a compliment, considering the infighting within the party. Months before his appointment, in July, over 29 leaders had written to Rahul Gandhi, complaining about the complete state of disarray the party finds itself in.

This was days before former Delhi Chief Minister and Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief Sheila Dikshit's passing away on July 20. After her death, the Congress top brass had the unenviable task of choosing a new chief for the Delhi unit— and, according to reports, they chose the most acceptable one of the warring lot.

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"He (Chopra) can take all the groups along. Had J P Aggarwal been appointed, Sandeep Dikshit and Ajay Maken would not have cooperated (with him). Had Maken been appointed, Aggarwal and Sandeep and all those who were close to Sheila would have not accepted (them)," a top All India Congress Committee (AICC) functionary told The Indian Express.

"The party had to make a senior leader (PCC chief). There was no other choice," the functionary added. Moreover, according to the Express report, top Delhi Congress leaders had also stuck to Chopra while opposing the candidature of Kirti Azad, a former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament (MP).

"But it's not just that Chopra is the glue for the party's Delhi unit. He is also an experienced Congressman who has led the party to victory before in elections," a Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) functionary told Moneycontrol. Chopra had helmed the post before from 1998-2003, between which the party had won the Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections as well as the Delhi Assembly polls of 2003.

But those, says Delhi Congress leaders, were different times and days. Observers have said that this time around, Congress' campaign has been lacklustre, with the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fighting it out among themselves— this, despite the grand old party hoping for a headstart for its campaigning in November.

Chopra, said Delhi Congress leaders, hasn't done much to change that. He did hit the ground running during the violence at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Jamia Millia Islamia and the consequent protests, but it did not grab much eyeballs, and reports suggest that it certainly won't help the party much electorally.

Chopra is a three-time legislator from Kalkaji, and has also served as Delhi assembly Speaker. According to reports, Chopra's appointment also signalled the party's shift back towards giving important positions to the old guard loyalists.

The challenge for Chopra, observers have pointed out, is not to improve the party's performance— it failed to win even a single seat during the 2015 polls— but to improve it enough to dent the prospects of both AAP and the BJP.

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First Published on Feb 4, 2020 07:55 pm
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