'Vindictive politics': Congress forced to shift war room in Delhi amid key state polls
New Delhi: The Congress is miffed over being forced to vacate the national war room operating from the 15, Gurudwara Rakabganj Road bungalow in the national capital, in the middle of key state elections and preparations for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. The national war room had been functional in the bungalow for the past 18 years during which it had been allocated to various party leaders who allowed the Congress to use it.
The bungalow was last allotted to former Rajya Sabha member Pradeep Bhattacharya, whose term ended in August. Bhattacharya had requested for an extension to vacate the premises for a few months but the same was not granted by the Rajya Sabha housing committee. Later, the Congress managers even tried to get the bungalow allotted to another party MP but that too did not work out.
With not many options available and the high command busy with the five state polls (Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram polling done but remains in Rajasthan and Telangana) the party had to shift equipment and people to the nearby 17, Gurudwara Rakabganj Road bungalow, which is allotted to Rajya Sabha member Shakti Sinh Gohil.
“This is nothing but vindictive politics. One of our colleagues had sought an allotment in his name but it was not done. The social media team is now operating from a part of my house,” Gohil said. In October, Aryan age had reported how Bhattacharya was not being granted an extension to use the premises despite his sending multiple letters to the Rajya Sabha Secretariat.
According to party insiders, till recently key strategy meetings related to the state polls were taking place in the 15, GRG bungalow war room which was not only playing a role in the monitoring of assembly elections but the Lok Sabha preparations as well.
“The national war room is a hub of activities related to the entire country. Important meetings take place here and a lot of politics-related work is done on a daily basis. The need to shift the premises at short notice is a hassle but we will manage things,” a senior AICC functionary said.
Former Delhi MP JP Aggarwal, who has attended several key meetings at the war room during the previous UPA government, told this channel: “This was expected of the BJP. They can and are trying to harass us but we have seen all this before and I am sure the party will make alternative arrangements. In a normal course the bungalow could have been allotted to a party MP or the Rajya Sabha housing committee could have taken rent at market rate for an extended period.”
According to party insiders, the option of shifting to the new party office at Rouse Avenue is always there but the building is yet to be inaugurated. Till then, some of the activities like important meetings may be conducted at the Congress headquarters at 24, Akbar Road, they said.
The hassle to shift the war room has come at a time when the Congress was planning to step up the coordination work of the opposition alliance INDIA for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, said party insiders, adding that the managers would use technology effectively to cope up with the situation till a new system is worked out.