A day after a complete wipeout in the Delhi Assembly polls, Congress candidates waited in vain to hear from the party high command. Former MLAs confirmed that “no message or direction” came their way.
Sources in the party said AICC general secretary P C Chacko, campaign chief Ajay Maken and Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely may meet party president Sonia Gandhi to review the party’s worst loss in Delhi. All three have offered to resign, claiming “moral responsibility” for the defeat.
On being asked about any communication from the party’s high command and the national unit, former Delhi MLAs said they are yet to receive any “message or direction from the party as to what we need to do to revitalise the party”.
“The party cadre is very demoralised, we need to begin working,” a senior leader said.
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But dissent is brewing within the party, with many leaders claiming that the party should have handled the campaign differently. Former Seelampur MLA Mateen Ahmed, who had previously met Sonia to request that former CM Sheila Dikshit be given a larger role in the party’s campaign, reiterated his stand. “She (Dikshit) should be brought back, we can’t talk about the glory of our 15 years in Delhi without her,” he said.
Others spoke about the need for revitalizing the existing structure. “In its days of glory, the Congress worker was different from a ‘neta’. He or she knew everyone in his/her area and had a personal, not political, relationship with them. That needs to come back. Block and district presidents need to be given a larger role,” a senior leader said.
Former Delhi power minister Haroon Yusuf said the party, “like the bird whose nest has been broken”, will look to begin rebuilding immediately. “But, we have to admit that we made mistakes. We were unable to convince people that we were a serious contestant,” he said.
Despite having no seats in the Assembly, the party claimed that its role in Delhi isn’t over. “This has offered us the space for taking up an oppositional role — to the BJP at the Centre and the AAP in Delhi. If and when AAP does something wrong, protests will not take place in the Assembly. But the Congress will take to the streets,” a leader said.