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Sheila Dikshit quit as the Kerala governor Tuesday, triggering speculation that the former three-time CM might return to Delhi politics.
The senior Congress leader is the eighth governor appointed by the previous UPA regime to quit office after the Modi government came to power on May 26.
“I did what my heart was saying. I will not say anything more at this point,” the 76-year-old told mediapersons. Dikshit has been asked to stay on till September 4.
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Delhi has been without an elected government for more than six months, with the assembly in suspended animation. There is also talk of fresh polls in the winter.
Dikshit’s return is expected not only to counter a resurgent BJP and the Aam Aadmi party (AAP) but also rejuvenate the Congress, relegated to the margins of Capital’s politics.
The Congress managed to win just eight of the 70 seats in the last year’s assembly polls.
A few months later, all its sitting seven MPs virtually surrendered their seats to the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.
Dikhsit ruled Delhi for three successive terms from 1998 and was considered the tallest Congress leader in the Capital. But, her defeat at the hands of AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal from the New Delhi constituency in the state elections gave enough ammunition to her detractors and she was held responsible for the party’s decimation. Dikshit was appointed the Kerala governor a month ahead of the national elections.
After her exit, the Delhi Congress has struggled to find a credible face with second-rung leaders Arvinder Singh and Haroon Yusuf at the helm.
But the Lok Sabha debacle and possibility of fresh elections in Delhi has led to a section of party demanding that Dikshit be brought back. Sensing that her return was imminent, many of her loyalists met her at Kerala Bhavan in the last two days. Discomfort among her party rivals is palpable while sources in the party suggested that she could be given a national role.
“The BJP has already announced it will investigate the allegations of corruption against her. Bringing her back to Delhi may prove counter-productive,” a Congress leader said.
But another section was of the view that Dikshit would unnerve the BJP, which is struggling to find a CM candidate after its popular face Harsh Vardhan joined the Modi cabinet as the health minister.