Ajay Maken Resigns As Delhi Congress Chief, May Get Central Role: Sources

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Former Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken met Rahul Gandhi last night before announcing his resignation

New Delhi:

Ajay Maken has resigned as chief of the Congress in Delhi, months before the national election due by May. Congress president Rahul Gandhi has accepted his resignation, say sources. The 54-year-old took over as Delhi Congress president four years ago, after the party was decimated in state polls after three terms in power.

He is believed to have given health reasons for resigning. But sources say there is a possibility of Ajay Maken being given a new central role or even contesting the Lok Sabha election.

Mr Maken met Rahul Gandhi last night before announcing his resignation in a tweet. "After the 2015 assembly election, in the past four years as Delhi Congress resident, I received immense love and support from Rahul Gandhi, workers and the media. It was not easy in these difficult circumstances. I am grateful," he tweeted in Hindi.

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Three months ago, the Congress had denied reports of Mr Maken's resignation and had said he had "temporarily stepped down" because of a health problem.

Mr Maken went for treatment abroad around the time. Congress leader PC Chacko "filled in" for him.

A two-time parliamentarian and former union minister, Mr Maken replaced Arvinder Singh Lovely as Delhi Congress chief.

He had resigned once before in May 2017 when the party did not perform well in civic polls. But he took it back reportedly after Rahul Gandhi, then vice president, asked him to continue.

Mr Maken was seen to have differences with the central leadership over the possibility of an understanding between the Congress and Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which ended the Sheila Dikshit-led Congress government's 15-year run in 2013.

Mr Maken was strongly opposed to a tie-up with AAP for the national election, which presents the Congress with a dilemma at a time it is trying to rally all opposition forces against the BJP.

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