Unable to wrest power from the BJP in the municipal elections, senior Congress leaders blamed “local factors” for people voting against the party. Rejecting the BJP’s claim that there was an undercurrent against the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre and the Congress government in Delhi, senior party leaders said the municipal polls were fought on local issues and some “wrong decisions” taken by the party leadership resulted in its loss.
The Congress won in 78 seats in the combined house of 272 members.
“One of the biggest factors that worked against us is no development in unauthorised colonies. Despite giving provisional certificates to these colonies in 2008, we could not regularise them. No development took place in these 1600-odd colonies,” said a senior Congress leader. “Even replacing Rajkumar Chauhan by Ashok Kumar Walia as urban development minister did not help much,” he added.
Interestingly, the Congress lost by the biggest margin in east Delhi where it was expected to perform the best.
East Delhi Municipal Corporation comprises two parliamentary constituencies — East Delhi, which has chief minister Sheila Dikshit’s son Sandeep Dikshit as MP, and northeast Delhi, which has Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president Jai Prakash Aggarwal as MP.
Apart from the two MPs and the chief minister, two Delhi ministers, the deputy speaker of the Delhi Assembly and a former parliamentary secretary to the chief minister also represent different assembly constituencies in east Delhi.
All these leaders had put in extra efforts to get this corporation for the Congress.
“Poor selection of candidates is one of the reasons why we lost here. Our party performed very badly in northeast Delhi, which has seen little development in the past few years,” admitted a senior Congress leader.
Infighting between the area MP and MLAs also resulted in the Congress’ poor performance in north Delhi. Both the MPs and the MLAs had complained against each other to the party high command over distribution of tickets.
Even before voting took place, Aggarwal had accepted that the party was on a shaky ground in north Delhi.