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Home / Assembly Elections / Congress pledges to build from scratch

Congress pledges to build from scratch

As the election results started showing a clear defeat for the Congress early in the day, party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala promised a reorganisation of the “party cadre in Delhi”.

assembly-elections Updated: Feb 12, 2020 05:57 IST
Soumya Pillai
Soumya Pillai
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The Delhi Congress office at DDU Marg, New Delhi, wears a deserted look after the results of the Assembly elections were announced on Tuesday.
The Delhi Congress office at DDU Marg, New Delhi, wears a deserted look after the results of the Assembly elections were announced on Tuesday.(Photo: Sushil Kumar/HT PHOTO)

The Congress, which was decimated in the Delhi assembly elections in which it failed to open its account, is staring at another five years of “internal introspection” in the national capital.

The party, which under Sheila Dikshit ruled the city-state for 15 years from 1998 to 2013, was not only reduced to zero in the House for the second consecutive time, but only three Congress candidates saved their security deposits.

As the election results started showing a clear defeat for the Congress early in the day, party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala promised a reorganisation of the “party cadre in Delhi”.

“We promise to start building the party from scratch. We will revive and rebuild the party. People’s mandate is against us and we accept it,” Surjewala said.

Taking “moral responsibility” for the party’s dismal performance, Delhi Congress chief Subhash Chopra offered to resign from his post.

“I had little time. I worked 21 to 22 hours every day to get our message to voters of Delhi, but people chose other parties over us. As a leader of the state unit, I take responsibility for this,” Chopra said on Tuesday.

Out of the 66 Congress candidates, only three managed saved their security deposit from getting forfeited. Abhishek Dutt, Congress candidate from Kasturba Nagar, managed a vote share of 21.42% — the
highest among all Congress candidates.

Former Delhi cabinet minister Arvinder Singh Lovely, who was fielded from Gandhi Nagar, his home turf, ended with a vote share of 19.14%. Former legislator and Delhi Pradesh
Congress Committee (DPCC) working president Devender Yadav also got a vote share of 19.66%.

In four seats— Uttam Nagar, Palam, Burari and Kirari, where the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) partnered with the Congress — all the party candidates lost their deposits.

The results led to many senior leaders questioning the party’s state leadership and criticising it for adopting a lacklustre attitude and lacking a united cadre base going into the elections.

Congress national spokesperson Sharmistha Mukherjee called the party out for “delays in decision making, lack of strategy and unity, and no grassroots connect”.

“We are decimated again in Delhi. Enough of introspection, it is time for action now. Inordinate delay in decision making at the top, lack of strategy and unity at state level, demotivated workers, no grassroots connect, all are factors. Being part of the system, I take my share of responsibility,” Mukherjee said.

She added, “BJP playing divisive politics, (Arvind) Kejriwal playing smart politics, and what are we doing? Can we honestly say that we have done everything to put our house in order?”

While the party was reduced to a vote share of 4.26%, many senior Congress leaders took consolation in AAP’s victory, which kept the BJP from forming a government in Delhi. In 2015, the Congress had a vote share of 9.7% and saw 62 of its 70 candidates forfeiting their deposit.

“AAP won, bluff and bluster lost. The people of Delhi, who are from all parts of India, have defeated the polarising, divisive and dangerous agenda of the BJP. I salute the people of Delhi who have set an example to other states that will hold their elections in 2021 and 2022,” said former union minister P Chidambaram.

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