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Maken quits as Delhi Congress chief


Cites health reasons; resignation triggers speculation of alliance with AAP

Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Ajay Maken stepped down as the party’s Delhi unit president because of what he said were “solely health-related reasons”.

The decision, which came within hours of the resignation of Aam Aadmi Party’s Punjab MLA H.S. Phoolka, prompted insiders from both parties to claim that it was a reaction to the likely formation of an AAP-Congress front — not only in Delhi but nationally — against the BJP.

“I had tendered my resignation earlier and had requested the party leadership to accept it since the [Delhi] Pradesh Congress Committee chief, so close to the (Lok Sabha) elections, should be in a position to give 100%... anything below that is unacceptable,” Mr. Maken told The Hindu . “I called on the party leadership last evening and impressed upon them that I was not in a position to give my all to the party at the moment due to health reasons and my request was accepted,” he said.

AICC in-charge of the Delhi unit, P.C. Chacko, confirmed Mr. Maken’s resignation. “We are looking for his successor,” he said.

A source in the Congress Working Committee said Mr. Maken had tendered his resignation in September last year. The Congress is now looking to replace him with someone with “adequate experience” to lead the party in the Capital ahead of the Lok Sabha election; former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and former Delhi Minister Yoganand Shastri are being considered as his replacements, the source said.

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