The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has swept to power in the Delhi civic polls, securing 164 seats in the 272-member MCD House. The Congress, that had made a similar sweep in the last polls in 2002, has won 69 seats. While the Bahujan Samaj Party has got 15 seats, Independents and other parties have won 24.
The poll results, declared on Saturday, are being seen by many Congress leaders as a vote against the sealing and demolition drives in Delhi. The water and power shortages in the city were also to be blamed, they said.
Delhi BJP chief Harsh Vardhan said the march to the Town Hall, the MCD headquarters, was the first of the three targets for the party. “This was the quarter-final for us. The assembly elections in 2008 will be the semi-final and the general elections in 2009 the final,” he said.
Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) chief Ram Babu Sharma, blaming the “court-ordered demolition and sealing drives” for the defeat, called it a “collective failure”. But Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit refused to take responsibility, exposing cracks in the state Congress.
“This was not a referendum on the state government,” Dikshit said. “We need to introspect and improve co-ordination.”
In another indication of growing factionalism in the party, 14 MLAs, all supporters of Dikshit, met at the chief minister’s residence and blamed the defeat on Sharma.
“There was no co-ordination between the party and the government, and candidates were chosen on the whims and fancies of the DPCC president,” Ramakant Goswami, chief whip of the party, told HT.
The anti-Dikshit camp in the Congress blamed the defeat on the chief minister and her governance. “Dikshit is the face of the government and the party in the Capital,” said an MLA.
AICC general secretary Ashok Gehlot, party in-charge of Delhi, was quoted by PTI as saying: “The results could have been somewhat better had Dikshit and Sharma worked in tandem.”