NEW DELHI : In a setback to the Congress ahead of the April 23 civic polls, former Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely and former Youth Congress leader Amit Malik quit the party and joined the BJP on Tuesday. "Former DPCC President Arvinder Singh Lovely, a former Minister, and former Youth Congress leader Amit Malik joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in the presence of party chief Amit Shah," the Delhi BJP said in a tweet.
Union Minister Vijay Goel, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari and BJP's Lok Sabha member from East Delhi Maheish Girri were also present on the occasion.
"Lovely's joining the party will strengthen the party in several areas of east Delhi," said Tiwari.
Former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit slammed Lovely over the way he left the party but also took a veiled dig at Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken, saying that the party leadership in Delhi should have reached out to those having grievances.
"It is not the best action that he (Lovely) has taken after all that the Congress gave him and did for him. He was a minister and PCC chief. Leaving the Congress like this is not a good politician's way of looking at things," Dikshit told IANS.
She said his resignation would cause some embarrassment to the party.
Referring to Maken, she said he should have reached out to everybody.
"There are disapppointments in politics. If someone is disappointed or angry, then the party leadership should reach out to them. Apparently, that was not done," she said.
"The PCC President is the most important person in state leadership. He should treat the party as a joint family and learn to deal with them (workers with grievances)," the former Chief Minister added.
Dikshit said during her tenure as Chief Minister, several leaders from other parties had joined the Congress.
Congress leader and former Delhi Minister Kiran Walia also slammed Lovely and said "he should be ashamed of conveniently shifting ideologies for personal political gains".
Lovely held important portfolios in the Sheila Dikshit government, including education, tourism, urban development, revenue, and transport.
He was elected to the Delhi assembly for the first time in 1998. He has never lost an election ever since.
Referring to the Congress, Lovely told reporters: "The child has died. The party is finished."
"Nobody took note of my grievances. Several leaders in the Congress are feeling suffocated for the past two years," he added
Lovely had spoken in support of former Congress Minister A.K. Walia when he threatened to quit the party over distribution of party tickets for the April 23 civic polls.
"After Arvinder Singh Lovely's joining, I am getting loads of calls from Congress leaders. They feel suffocated in the Congress and want to join the BJP," Goel said on his Twitter account.
In two separate functions held at the BJP office here on Tuesday, around 200 Congress office-bearers and workers joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in the presence of BJP National Vice-President Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, and MPs Maheish Girri and Meenakshi Lekhi.
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