AICC’s Bihar in-charge Shaktisinh Gohil has been given the interim charge of Delhi.
New Delhi: Major infighting has erupted in the Congress Party after the debacle in the Delhi elections, with Delhi Congress leader Sharmistha Mukherjee taking on senior leader P. Chidambaram, the former finance minister, who had welcomed the AAP’s victory as the “defeat of bluff and bluster”, and asked her party colleague if state Congress units should shut shop in case the party has decided that others will take on the BJP across the states.
In a bid to deflect accountability for the loss, AICC’s Delhi in-charge P.C. Chacko tried to put the blame on late chief minister Sheila Dikshit, saying the party started losing ground when she was at the helm in 2013. “The party’s downfall started since 2013 when Sheila Dikshit was chief minister and the new outfit AAP took away the Congress votebank,” he said. Mr Chacko has been under attack from state leaders since the loss in the 2015 polls where the party had failed to open its account.
After facing intense fire, Mr Chacko sent his resignation to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who later accepted it. AICC’s Bihar in-charge Shaktisinh Gohil has been given the interim charge of Delhi.
Earlier, Ms Sharmistha Mukherjee tweeted: “With due respect, sir, just want to know — has Congress outsourced the task of defeating BJP to state parties? If not, then why are we gloating over AAP victory rather than being concerned at our drubbing? And if ‘yes’, then we (PCCs) might as well close shop!”
Mr Chidambaram had tweeted: “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. I salute the people of Delhi who have set an example to other states that will hold their elections in 2021 and 2022.”
In the last two Assembly and Lok Sabha elections, the Congress has failed to win any seat in Delhi. In the municipal elections too, the Congress could not come to power. Interstingly, in all five elections, Mr Chacko was the AICC in-charge for Delhi.
Sheila Dikshit’s former aide Pawan Khera attacked Mr Chacko, saying: “Just a data point. In 2013, when we lost, Congress voteshare in Delhi was 24.55 per cent. Sheilaji was not involved in 2015, when the voteshare slipped to 9.7 per cent. In 2019, when she was back in charge, the voteshare came up to 22.46 per cent.” The attack on Sheila Dikshit from Mr Chacko comes at a time when most of the posters put by the Congress had her picture displayed prominently. However, her son and two-time former East Delhi MP Sandeep Dikshit was not roped in to campaign for the party.
Taking on Mr Chacko, former Union minister Milind Deora tweeted: “Sheila Dikshitji was a remarkable politician and administrator. During her tenure as chief minister, Delhi was transformed and the Congress was stronger than ever. Unfortunate to see her being blamed after her death. She dedicated her life to the Congress and the people of Delhi.” The infighting in the Delhi unit was such that when in mid-2019 Sheila Dikshit passed away, Mr Chacko did not visit her residence fearing a backlash by her supporters.
The two consecutive losses for the Congress in Delhi have demoralised the party cadre. If the party wants to remain relevant in Delhi and not go the UP, Bihar or West Bengal way, it will soon have to revamp the state unit and quell the prevalent infighting.