Monday, Dec 22, 2014

Sheila in Delhi fuels rumour mills

Sheila Dikshit at Kerala Bhawan on Tuesday. ( Source: Express photo by Prem Nath Pandey ) Sheila Dikshit at Kerala Bhawan on Tuesday. ( Source: Express photo by Prem Nath Pandey )
Written by Aniruddha Ghosal | New Delhi | Posted: August 27, 2014 3:32 am

At 5 pm, the narrow corridor outside room number 304 at Kerala Bhawan was crammed with reporters, all asking the same question — was Sheila Dikshit going to resign?

Ten minutes later, the former Chief Minister of Delhi peeked out her room and finally confirmed that she had indeed tendered her resignation.
Dikshit remained reticent throughout the brief press conference afterwards, firmly refusing to answer questions about her reasons for resignation or what the future held for her. On being asked if she was going to return to the Delhi Congress and lead the party again, she smiled and replied, “I am not in a position to answer right now.”

Speculations were rife almost immediately after her arrival in the city. After meeting President Pranab Mukherjee and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, she had maintained that a resignation was not on the cards.

On Tuesday, the street outside Kerala Bhawan remained visibly devoid of media vans. The gates remained open, as did the canteen. Only the odd-armed guard and the occasional visitor betrayed her presence.

This changed a little before 5 pm when news of her resignation spread like wildfire. Reporters streamed in and television crew arrived in search of a definitive answer. Mics were frantically erected and photographers lined up outside her room. This time, she did confirm and said, “I had in fact resigned yesterday.” But her reasons, she chose not to disclose, instead stating that she had simply “followed her heart”.

The conjecture about Dikshit’s return to Delhi and its possible implications was perhaps most pronounced in the Delhi Congress office. Mateen Ahmed, Seelampur MLA, who had previously met with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and suggested that Dikshit should lead the party in the capital, minced no words. “Sheila Dikshit can lead the party back to its former self, people still love and respect her,” Ahmed said.

After refusing to specify her role in the Delhi Congress in the future, Dikshit walked past a wall lined with images of serene beaches. But Dikshit’s and the Congress’ path back to its former prominence would be anything but serene.

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