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Published On: Wed, Feb 12th, 2020

Chidambaram lauds AAP’s defeat of ‘dangerous’ BJP agenda

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fsdfsdsddNEW DELHI : Sharmistha Mukherjee has a long list of grievances after the Congress’s abysmal showing in assembly elections held in Delhi on February 8: no state-level strategy, no grassroots connect, “exalted echo chambers”, and so on.
The Congress’s defeat was devastating and complete; its candidates lost their deposits in 63 of 70 seats (which means they failed to win even one-sixth of the votes). Now, add to this the fact that one of her party’s senior leaders, P Chidambaram, didn’t exactly focus on the Congress’s humiliation in his tweets on the Delhi election results.

“AAP won, bluff and bluster lost. The people of Delhi, who are from all parts of India, have defeated the polarising, divisive and dangerous agenda of the BJP,” said P Chidambaram, the former Union Minister.
To which Sharmistha Mukherjee, chief of the Congress women’s wing in Delhi, replied: “With due respect, sir, just want to know — has [the Congress] outsourced the task of defeating BJP to state parties? If not, then why are we gloating over the AAP’s victory rather than being concerned about our drubbing?”
To call it a drubbing, in fact, is to put it mildly. With zero seats and a staggering 63 lost deposits — there are only 70 seats, remember the Congress was not even in the contest, just like in 2015.

Abhishek Manu Singhvi, another senior party leader, feels the Congress needs to find an alternative to the late Sheila Dikshit Sharmistha Mukherjee has herself tweeted a detailed diagnosis of what ails the Congress. Significantly, she mentions an “inordinate delay in decision-making at the top”.
Save a handful of triumphs in state and local elections, the Congress has seen its fortunes decline in the Modi era. Its next test will be in Bihar, where it is part of an opposition alliance that was decimated in last year’s general election.
Meanwhile, A day after the Congress’s second consecutive crash in the Delhi election, senior leader PC Chacko has offered to quit amid condemnation of his comments apparently pointing a finger at Sheila Dikshit, a widely-respected party leader who died last year. Delhi Congress chief Subhash Chopra has also offered his resignation.
Mr Chacko, the Congress’s Delhi in-charge, was quoted as telling news agency ANI that the party’s “downfall” started when Sheila Dikshit was Chief Minister and Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was born.
“The downfall of the Congress party started in 2013 when Sheila ji was the CM. The emergence of a new party, AAP took away the entire Congress vote bank. We could never get it back. It still remains with AAP,” Mr Chacko told ANI.
The comment may well mark the lowest point in the open infighting that has dragged the party down in Delhi for years. Among the first to criticize the comments was Milind Deora, a senior leader of the Congress in Maharashtra.
“Sheila Dikshit ji was a remarkable politician and administrator. During her tenure as Chief Minister, Delhi was transformed & Congress was stronger than ever. Unfortunate to see her being blamed after her death. She dedicated her life to Congress and the people of Delhi,” Milind Deora tweeted.
Sheila Dikshit, a three-time chief minister, was the Congress’s most popular face in Delhi and was credited with back-to-back poll victories on the strength of her government’s development work.

Ms Dikshit was voted out of power in 2013, when the one-year-old AAP performed surprisingly well in the Delhi election. The Congress provided support to an AAP government but it collapsed after Mr Kejriwal’s sudden resignation in 49 days. Since then, AAP has swept both assembly elections and the Congress has been reduced to zero.

Last year, the 81-year-old Ms Dikshit had complained to Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi about the factionalism within the party. She also tried to make changes in the Delhi Congress unit in the build-up to the polls but Mr Chacko and three other leaders objected in letters to her.
The veteran’s death in July left a leadership vacuum in the Delhi Congress. She was also admired by rivals in the BJP.


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