Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday appointed former chief minister Sheila Dikshit as the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee chief, days after Ajay Maken resigned from the post citing ill health, in a bid to strengthen the party ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
Making the announcement at the party headquarters, All India Congress Committee in-charge of the party’s Delhi unit, P C Chacko said Dikshit will be assisted by three working presidents -- Devender Yadav, Haroon Yusuf and Rajesh Lilotia.
“Congress president Rahul Gandhi has appointed Sheila Dixit as the president of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee,” he said.
On talks within the Delhi unit about alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party, Chacko said Congress was fully prepared to contest the parliamentary election on its own.
“The Congress in Delhi is strong enough to fight on its own. We are fully prepared and ready to face the 2019 elections on our own,” he said.
Talking about the three working presidents of the Delhi unit, he said Devendra Yadav was a two-time MLA and secretary of the AICC, while Rajesh Lilothia was two-time MLA of Delhi and also the secretary of AICC.
Chacko said Haroon Yusuf was the Congress Parliamentary Party Leader in the Delhi assembly.
Commenting on her appointment as the Delhi Congress unit chief, 80-year-old Dikshit said she felt honoured for the responsibility given to her.
“I will not comment on it and only time will tell,” she said when asked about critics pointing fingers at her age. The critics have said her old age would be a challenge to revive the Congress in the national capital.
“I have no message for Bharatiya Janata Party or Aam Aadmi Party, I just want to say that now Congress will be revived,” Dikshit said.
Reacting to speculations over Congress-AAP alliance in the city, the former Delhi CM said, “I have no opinion just now that I would like to share. Let me get involved and understand the situation from top to down, then only I will react”.
Maken congratulated Dikshit, saying under her leadership, the Congress party would play the role of a powerful opposition against the Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi and the Centre-led by Narendra Modi.
“Congratulations and well wishes to Sheila Dikshit on being appointed as president of Delhi Congress. I had the opportunity to work and learn under her as a parliamentary secretary and as a cabinet minister. I believe under her leadership we will play the role of a powerful opposition against Modi+Kejriwal governments,” he tweeted.
Dikshit has been three-time chief minister of Delhi.