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Blame game in Cong after rout in Delhi polls

New Delhi: A day after the party’s rout in Delhi elections, the knives are out in the Congress with leaders blaming each other and raising questions on whether the party has outsourced the task of defeating the BJP to others.

AICC Delhi in-charge P C Chacko sought to put the blame of the party’s decline on late Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, saying the party started losing ground in 2013. Dikshit was chief minister of Delhi at the time.

“The party’s downfall started since 2013. The party lost in all subsequent elections thereafter and the new outfit AAP took away all the Congress vote bank,” he said without naming Dikshit.

With party leader Milind Deora slamming him for his remarks, Chacko said he did not name Sheila Dikshit and his remarks were being wrongly interpreted to run a campaign against him. “I did not name Sheila ji, who did good governance and ensured all-round development of Delhi during the 15-year Congress rule,” he said.

The party’s poor performance has triggered a blame game within the party, with Congress leader Sharmishtha Mukherjee taking on senior party leader P Chidambaram, who had welcomed the AAP win as “defeat of bluff and bluster”. She asked the former minister if the state Congress units should shut shop in case the party had decided that others will take on the BJP across states.

“With due respect sir, just want to know- has Congress 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!” asked Mukherjee. Sharmishtha is daughter of former President Pranab Mukherjee, who has been a Congress leader all his life.

The Congress drew a blank for the second time in Delhi elections and its vote share plummeted to 4.26 per cent from 9.7 per cent in 2015.

Deora slammed Chacko for his remarks saying, “Sheila Dikshit ji 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 Congress and the people of Delhi.”

Dikshit’s former aide Pawan Khera said, “Just a data point. In 2013, when we lost, Congress vote share in Delhi was 24.55 pc. Sheila ji was not involved in 2015, when the vote share slipped to 9.7 pc. In 2019, when she was back in charge, the vote share came up to 22.46 pc.”

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor posted an Urdu couplet on Twitter saying, one is taking pride in someone else’s victory, even in the party’s defeat. “The Delhi results are disappointing for Congress but there are consolations: the BJP’s divisive politics has been repudiated with their rout; AAP’s development message is what has prevailed over identity politics; and 8 months after sweeping the LS polls the winners have been rebuked,” Tharoor said in another tweet.      

Chidambaram, the former finance minister, had welcomed the AAP victory in Delhi polls, saying, “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.”

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