Delhi Polls: No lifelines for sinking Congress in Delhi

Delhi Assembly Election: No lifelines for sinking Congress in Delhi

The Congress has been unable to find a leader of stature in the Capital after Dikshit took a backseat after her 2013 defeat. Credit: PTI Photo

On Tuesday morning, within minutes of poll authorities beginning the counting of votes for the Delhi Assembly elections, Mukesh Sharma, the spokesperson of the Delhi unit of the Congress, conceded defeat. Though Sharma's statement was for his personal contest from the Vikaspuri Assembly seat, it was symptomatic of the larger Congress story in the national capital.

It has been a downward slide for the Congress since it was ousted from power in the 2013 Assembly polls when Arvind Kejriwal, as the then AAP convenor, handed out a shock defeat to three-term Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit in the New Delhi Assembly seat. Congress could win only eight of 70 seats in Delhi where AAP had come second with 28 seats while BJP came in as the single largest party with 34 seats.

Follow All The Live Updates Of The Delhi Assembly Election 2020 Here

The Congress did the unthinkable – it offered outside support to the AAP to form the government to keep the BJP away from power. The action further alienated the Congress from its voters in Delhi, where it had only strengthened its new challenger. When the results came in, it was a complete wipeout for the Congress in the mid-term elections of 2015 when the AAP swept to power winning 67 of the 70 seats in the Delhi Assembly.

From 2015 to 2020, it has been a journey from zero to zero for the Congress, which sank deeper in Delhi as 63 of the 66 candidates it had fielded in the Assembly elections lost their deposits.

Former Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely and the party’s working presidents, Devendra Yadav and Abhishek Dutt, were the only leaders who put up a semblance of a fight by garnering five digit votes. The Congress' ally RJD which contested on four seats sank without a trace.

Follow All The Live Updates Of All The Constituencies Here

There were attempts to project the Congress's poor performance in Delhi as being “deliberate” in order to ensure the defeat of its national rival, the BJP. But this just shows a lack of acceptance of the deep malaise that has set in the party.

Congress has been unable to find a leader of stature in the Capital after Dikshit took a backseat after her 2013 defeat. Ajay Maken, who saw himself as a successor Dikshit, chose to fly abroad as the Congress leadership looked towards senior leaders to put up a respectable challenge to the Kejriwal-led AAP.

Sensing imminent defeat, senior Congress leaders such as Shoaib Iqbal, Pralhad Sawhney and Mahabal Mishra chose make common cause with the AAP. Iqbal and his kin joined AAP, while Mishra fielded his son Vinay from the Dwarka assembly seat which he won comfortably. Iqbal and Sawhney also went on to win their respective seats with huge margins.




Rampant infighting in the already diminished state unit also turned away voters as not even 5 per cent of the total electorate found it a worthy challenger to Kejriwal.


Congress also failed to come up with new ideas for its campaign and chose to remind Delhiites of the “fond memories” of Dikshit's 15-year rule when Delhi transformed into a modern capital.


After the 2013 defeat in the Delhi elections, Rahul Gandhi had famously declared to learn from the AAP experiment and change the Congress in ways that “one cannot even imagine”. Unfortunately for the Congress, the change in the national capital has indeed been unimaginable – from 24.6 per cent vote share in 2013 to 9.7 per cent in 2015 and 4.26 per cent in 2020.




DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
Comments (+)