PC Chacko blames Sheila Dikshit for downfall of Congress in Delhi
Congress president Sonia Gandhi accepted the resignations of Delhi unit chief Subhash Chopra, who offered to quit just hours after the disastrous showing in the polls, and PC Chacko, the party’s Delhi unit in-charge, in a swift move, according to a notification by the party.Updated: Feb 14, 2020 03:22 IST
The Congress accepted on Wednesday the resignations offered by two of its top Delhi unit leaders, while it also attempted to quell infighting that broke out a day after the party drew a blank in the assembly elections in the national capital.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi accepted the resignations of Delhi unit chief Subhash Chopra, who offered to quit just hours after the disastrous showing in the polls, and PC Chacko, the party’s Delhi unit in-charge, in a swift move, according to a notification by the party. Shakti Sinh Gohil, the Congress’s Bihar in-charge, will take the baton from Chacko.
The churn in the organisation came on a day the party faced controversies on at least two fronts — one triggered by Chacko’s purported remarks on former chief minister Sheila Dikshit, and another that brought opposite views within the party to the fore.
Delhi Mahila Congress president Sharmistha Mukherjee, daughter of former president Pranab Mukherjee, created a flutter on social media by questioning former Union minister P Chidambaram’s Twitter post that congratulated the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Delhi.
“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 Chidambaram’s tweet, in an apparent dig at the BJP.
In her reply, Mukherjee posted: “With due respect sir, just want to know- has @INCIndia outsourced the task of defeating BJP to state parties? If not, then why r we gloating over AAP victory rather than being concerned abt our drubbing? And if ‘yes’, then we (PCCs) might as well close shop! ”
Mukherjee later told HT: “I don’t want to say anything more about it.”
In the February 8 assembly elections, the AAP won 62 of Delhi’s 70 seats, while the BJP bagged eight. Congress candidates lost their deposits in 63 of the 66 seats the party contested. Its vote share fell to 4.25% from 9.7% in 2015.
Another row erupted after Chacko purportedly told news agency ANI that the Congress’s downfall in Delhi began in 2013, when Dikshit was the chief minister.
Dikshit, who died last July, is credited with leading a Congress government in the national capital for 15 straight years. In the election held in 2013, the Congress was relegated to the third position and offered outside support to the AAP in order to keep the BJP at bay.
Chacko later said that his comment was “misinterpreted” and that he was “deliberately targeted”.
“My comments are being misinterpreted. I did not say that we lost this election because of Sheilaji. I said that we lost our vote share to the AAP in 2013, and she was incidentally the CM then. That was only a reference point,” Chacko said.
Former Mumbai Congress chief Milind Deora said that it was unfortunate that Dikshit’s party colleagues were “blaming her after her death”.
“Sheila Dikshit was a remarkable politician and administrator. During her tenure as chief minister, Delhi was transformed and Congress was stronger than ever. Unfortunate to see her being blamed after her death, she dedicated her life to the Congress and the people of Delhi,” Deora said.
As controversies brewed, Congress’s chief spokesperson, Randeep Surjewala, disapproved of the blame game.
“It would have been better if the leaders of the Congress party in Delhi or elsewhere, would have looked at, introspected upon their own role, their own responsibility, their own commitment to the Party and defining their own duty towards the campaign in Delhi, then things would have sorted out themselves,” he said.
Surjewala added that the party will “go back to the drawing board, go back to the last worker of the Congress Party in Delhi, who toiled tirelessly bereft of any groupings whatsoever and worked for the Congress Party, although we could not secure the support of the people”.
He also lauded Dikshit’s role during the 15-year (1998-2003) Congress rule in Delhi and “the pioneering work” done by her.