The suffocating 49-day tryst with AAP may be over for the Congress, but the fall of the Arvind Kejriwal government does not spell immediate relief for Sonia Gandhi’s party.
While its strategy will now be to attack Kejriwal on his record of governance, Congress strategists fear that an early assembly election in Delhi means no gain for them.
The Congress is set to sharpen its attack on two issues: the performance of the 49-day government and its gross “disrespect” to the Constitution.
Union commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma accused AAP of running away from responsibilities. “He promised the sun and the moon. Whatever he promised, no government can fulfil it. He promised 1000 litres of water but he should also clarify how many parts of Delhi gets piped water. What has he delivered?” Sharma told HT.
“He never wanted to govern but used this time only to hit the Lok Sabha election with some talking points. As a responsible party we had no other option but withdraw support from a government that has little respect for the Constitution,” said a party source close to Rahul Gandhi.
However, the Congress strategists feel if Delhi goes to poll along with Lok Sabha, the party may still remain a distant third. “It will be a fight between the BJP and AAP, we will have nothing to gain,” said a party functionary.
In its internal assessment, the Congress finds that AAP’s credibility among the middle class has definitely waned but they feel, after the recent attention-grabbing acts, Kejriwal’s chips are likely to go up among the poor and the lower income groups.
Sharma however, defended the party’s decision to oppose the AAP government in Delhi assembly. “Parliament has already passed a Lokpal Bill. How can a state government form its own jan lokpal? No state can bring a law that is in conflict with the Centre.”