In defeat, Congress leaders train their guns on Dikshit

Sheila's peers slam her for ignoring their suggestions

The Congress was virtually wiped out in the Delhi Assembly elections whose results were declared on Sunday and in the initial dissection of the debacle party leaders trained their guns on Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit for ignoring the warning signs in the run-up to the polls.

The results brought the curtains down on Dikshit’s 15-year reign in the capital but her party leaders said she was herself responsible for such a tragic end.

“A three-time chief minister losing with a margin of over 25,000 votes is unheard of,” said a Congress leader, who did not want to be named.

Dikshit’s antagonists in the party said she had her say in ticket distribution, the campaign strategy of showcasing development and the conduct of political rallies during electioneering, ignoring suggestions.

“She refused to consider suggestions from other colleagues and overruled them by using her so-called proximity to party chief Sonia Gandhi to have her say in almost all affairs,” said a party leader, who did not wish to be named.  

The fear of a loss was hanging over the Congress before the voting day but the decimation of the ruling party has left its leaders wondering about their future.

“Dikshit may move over to the central politics or land a gubernatorial assignment. We will have to either sit in opposition for five years or face elections again in the next six months,” said a winning Congress candidate.

The party’s gamble to project Dikshit as the face of party backfired as both the Aam Aadmi Party and the BJP targeted her for alleged corruption in governance and conduct of CWG in 2010.

Some Congress leaders sympathised with Dikshit and said everybody underestimated the reach of the AAP. “It was an AAP wave, it hit us the most,” said a leader.

Another losing candidate said, the old and time-tested formula of Dikshit and her team to get roads relaid, get new drains built and get street lights fitted days ahead of voting day to showcase development did not work.

“This trick worked for her in the last two elections. Voters could see development just before the election and believed in the Congress slogan of being a party aimed at developing the city, however, it did not yield the expected result,” said a Congress leader.  

The allegedly unhelpful nature of Dikshit’s team of ministers towards party workers from the ground caused frequent heart burns which prevented the party to fight the elections in a unified manner, said a party leader.

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