The fact that Sheila Dixit changed the face of Delhi during her 15-year government is acknowledged by all, irrespective of party affiliation. This time the Congress went to the polls of the Delhi Municipal Council with the promise of bringing back that ‘Delhi of Sheila Dikshit’. But the results of the polls said that the Congress of Sonia-Rahul Gandhi was virtually wiped out from the ‘Heart of Delhi’.
The Congress has won only nine out of the 250 wards in the Delhi Municipality. In the by-polls five years ago, Congress got about 21 per cent votes. Now it has come down to eleven per cent. Even in the Muslim-majority areas of Old Delhi, where the Congress has always won, the Congress has lost this time. The Congress won some wards in North-East Delhi only against the backdrop of the violence that erupted around Shaheen Bagh, the epicentre of the anti-CAA movement.
Hope of Congress
Congress’s only hope after the defeat in the Delhi Assembly is that if the results of the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh polls are released today, they can at least win the Himachal polls and form the government. And Congress will be the main opposition party in Gujarat. If the practice of changing the government every five years continues in Himachal, Congress is expected to come to power by defeating the BJP. Congress leaders fear that if Himachal is not won, the morale of their workers will collapse again. Rahul’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ will also hit.
Congress sources say that despite factional differences within the party in Delhi, no attempt has been made to resolve them. There remains a lack of coordination between the provincial president and the elders. Congress campaigned in the name of Sheila Dixit but her son Sandeep was not in the campaign. Top leaders of the Congress were far from the same, Delhi’s acting leader Shakti Singh Gohil was not enthused. So there was no hope of winning twenty wards if it was too much.
However, a section of Congress leaders tried to portray the AAP’s victory over the BJP in the Delhi Municipal Assembly as a victory for the ‘Lesser Evil’. The reverse argument is that the entire anti-BJP vote has gone to the Aam Aadmi Party. His picture has appeared on Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg. While the party’s victory party was going on throughout the day yesterday in AAP’s office, on the opposite side, the state Congress office in Delhi remained empty. Rahul-close Congress leader Manikom Tagore has argued that the anti-BJP votes from UP are returning to Congress.
This proves that AAP’s votes have decreased compared to the 2000 assembly votes. While the BJP’s vote remained the same, the Congress’ vote in the assembly polls increased by four points from 3% to 11.6%. But Congress’ own Abhishek Manu Singhvi expressed dismay, saying, “Introspection and structural changes are needed.”
They are hopeful that next time they will surely get the desired result. Until then they will try to improve themselves.