The Congress Legislature Party meeting on Monday turned nasty as legislators, fearing a political backlash from traders whose shops will likely be sealed, fenced verbally and thrust mikes at one another in a show of anger aimed at Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.
In the hour-long meeting on a day the Winter Session of the Delhi Assembly began, Dikshit came in for sharp criticism from party rivals.
Congress MLA Bheesham Sharma accused Dikshit of eroding the party's vote base by delinking the Delhi government from the sealing and demolition drives. The MLA accused Dikshit of being responsible for "the mess in Delhi".
At this, MLAs loyal to Dikshit hurled abuses at Sharma. Three MLAs — Rajesh Lilothia, Ashok Ahuja and Ramakant Goswami — traded charges with one threatening another with "dire consequences".
Soon, more MLAs joined in, taking pot shots at one another. These legislators included Vijay Locchav, Master Bijendra, Anil Bhardwaj, Mukesh Sharma, Malaram Gangwal, Shadi Ram, Surender Singh Bittoo and Mahabal Mishra.
Fearing a long and nasty verbal duel, Subhash Chopra and Jile Singh Chauhan tried to mediate between the warring groups. Chopra attacked ministers in the Delhi government for not taking a stand on the sealing drive.
Bheesham Sharma later said: "The popularity of the Congress is dipping. We want an amendment in the resolution to be moved by the Chief Minister so the Delhi government also remains accountable."
Dikshit declined comment on what happened at the meeting. "We are moving a resolution on the sealing drive," was all she would tell quizzing reporters.
Earlier at the CLP meeting, a resolution condemning the BJP for politicising the sensitive issue of sealing and demolition was passed. The CLP also decided that all the 47 Congress MLAs of Delhi, including Dikshit and her Cabinet colleagues, would meet the Monitoring Committee on Tuesday and petition it afresh for relief.