After a humiliating electoral defeat in assembly elections in December last year and a rout in recent Lok Sabha elections, power cuts in Delhi have given the Congress party an issue to bounce back.
The party, which ruled Delhi for a record 15 years, is now on the streets, shouting slogans, burning effigies and sitting on dharnas against long power cuts which have affected almost entire Delhi. The party leaders know this is probably their one chance to win over the people of Delhi who lost faith in them and moved over to the BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party.
The party has coined new catchy slogans and is playing advertisements on radio, blaming the BJP and the AAP for the ongoing power crisis. The FM channels are playing Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh’s recorded message on how Delhi was getting 24-hour power supply during the Congress rule. In another advertisement, a couple discusses that they wasted their votes on other parties and it is the Congress which can bring development to the Capital. Slogans such as ‘har har mombatti ghar ghar mombatti’ and ‘acche dino ki huyi shuruat, bijli-paani gaya Gujarat’ have become popular in Congress’ agitations.
Interestingly, it was the BJP and later the AAP, which ran an extensive campaign against the Congress on high power tariff and poor infrastructure in the Capital ahead of the assembly elections in 2012 and 2013. With the promise of reducing electricity tariff by half, the Aam Aadmi Party managed to catch the fancy of the electorate and put up a stunning performance in the assembly elections and formed the government in Delhi.
The Congress seems to have wrested the initiative now. While the AAP MLAs did protest outside the residence of BJP’s chief ministerial candidate and now MP Harsh Vardhan, and their leader Arvind Kejriwal met Lieutenant Governor of Delhi and wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it is the Congress which has hogged the limelight with their daily agitations.
“The situation is really bad in the Capital. Most areas are still experiencing five-six-hour power cuts. Every day we are getting messages from the people of Delhi, requesting us to raise the issue. They want us to come to their areas and protest against the Central government on this issue,” Singh said.
The party may not come back to power this time and may not even win enough seats to become the principal opposition party, but senior party leaders believe that it is their chance to regroup.