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Doomsday awaits Delhi Congress

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By Sidharth Mishra

The postponing of the MCD polls inadvertently has given a breather to the Congress high command. If the state elections commission would have decided to go ahead with the polls in April, which were postponed at the last moment, the grand old party would have been staring at another rout.

This would have meant another defeat in Delhi, where the Congress first lost turf to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), since the winter of 2013. This would have further bruised the beleaguered party high command. With AAP having moved the Supreme Court to hold polls on time, the Damocles’ sword continues to hang, lest the apex court ask the poll body to hold elections.

In the dissident group of 23 Congress leaders, popularly known as G-23, there are four names from Delhi alone – Kapil Sibal, Sandeep Dikshit, Arvinder Singh Lovely and Yoganand Shastri. Veteran Shastri has since joined the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

The prominent faces from Delhi who continue to back the high command are – former Union Minister Ajay Maken and national spokesperson Pawan Khera. The other Delhi Congress leader who enjoyed confidence of the high command is former MLA Devender Yadav, who was party incharge in Uttarakhand.

A protégé of late Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Khera is the only one from her charmed circle to be backing the high command. Dikshit’s son Sandeep is a prominent member of the G-23. Among the old guards, former Member of Parliament JP Agarwal seems to be the only one keeping company with Maken and Yadav for now.

There is a large body of fence-sitters including former Ministers Haroon Yusuf, Naseeb Singh, Ramakant Goswamy, Narendra Nath, Mangat Ram Singhal and former Delhi Congress president Subhash Chopra. The Delhi Congress as of now is headed by a former Youth Congress leader Anil Chowdhry.

Though he has been in the office for the past two years, Chowdhry’s presence on the ground is negligible. In fact even during the two difficult phases of the pandemic, Delhi’s Youth Congress unit under the UK-educated Ranvijay Lochav in the leadership of national president Srinivas BV did a more credible job among the people than the Delhi Congress unit.

Chowdhry, said to be a favourite of former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, is no match for AAP or the BJP leadership both in the matters of charisma or the organizing abilities. It seems people have almost forgotten Congress, though in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls the party under an aging Sheila Dikshit had pushed AAP to third position on all the seven seats.

This despite a very sadist character called PC Chacko playing spoiler as the state in charge on the behest of the party high command. Sandeep Dikshit had filed a criminal case against Chacko following Sheila Dikshit’s death, alleging mental harassment of the aging leader by the high command representative.

Chacko was replaced as in charge when the party was completely decimated in the 2020 assembly polls with vote share being as low as five percent.

The poll plans of the Congress for the MCD elections as of now remains a secret, or let’s say there isn’t anything on the drawing board. Even the veteran Gujarat leader Shaktisinh Gohil, who was made in charge after Chacko, has hardly made his presence felt. The Congress lost its Purvanchal face in Mahabal Mishra to AAP in 2020 assembly polls.

The party may lose some more leaders in the upcoming elections and by 2024 it would be difficult to believe that till a decade ago, the Delhi Congress was used to win all the seven Lok Sabha seats and had won assembly elections three-time in a row.


(The writer is Author and President, Centre for Reforms, Development & Justice) 

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