All eyes on Maken to revive Cong

Civic polls will be key test

Former Union minister Ajay Maken has an uphill task to revive the Delhi unit of a party which has not been able to win even a single election in the past three years.

The first test of the leader, who rose from student politics, would be the 2017 civic elections in which the growing AAP threatens to wipe out the Congress from the civic agencies.

Maken, 51, a former Union minister, is tipped to replace Arvinder Singh as the Delhi Congress chief despite the fact that he failed to show results after being made the face of the party in the just concluded Assembly polls.

The announcement of Maken’s name as the chief of Delhi Congress is just a formality but the former Union minister knows that revival of his battered party may not happen overnight.

The young leader, who has a clean image and is party’s credible face, is likely to gain a lot of boost from his perceived good equation with Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi.

Reconstitution of the block-level committees will be his priority and giving representation to Dalit and Muslim leaders may be his way of winning back supporters of these two crucial categories of vote banks which have now completely move towards the AAP.

It is possible that the Congress may have to face challenge in the future not just from AAP but also Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) which has made its intention clear to spread its wings to Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, among other north Indian states.

The Congress vote share in the February Assembly polls was 9.7 per cent, the lowest ever in the Assembly polls.

As Maken become the face of Congress in Delhi polls he knew it very well that internal dissent over his elevation and Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh withdrawing from the poll contest, would not make his task a cakewalk.

Maken has learnt politics the hard way. He was elected the president of Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) in 1985.

The victory in university polls came close to the assassination of his trade unionist uncle Lalit Maken, who was the son-in-law of Shankar Dayal Sharma who later became the president.

Keeping in mind that the 2017 municipal elections will be his first challenge, Maken needs to quickly devise a strategy for winning back old supporters of the party.

Whether he will be able to change the future of Congress in Delhi amid the surge of AAP will be interesting to watch.
DH News Service

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