After Sheila Dikshit’s resignation as the governor of Kerala, the question of whether she will once again lead the Delhi Congress unit is doing the rounds in the party. While some believe she could very well be the catalyst for the party’s recovery in the capital, others said the party needed to look ahead and promote young leaders.
Speculation on her return to the Congress had begun on Monday after her arrival in the city. All India Congress Committee general secretary and Delhi in-charge Shakeel Ahmed had clarified at the time that the decision would be taken by the high command after she formally resigns, if she chooses to rejoin politics.
“When she is not holding any constitutional post and joins politics actively, the party will decide on it. If she joins some other party, who knows. It is for her to decide and choose any party,” he said.
After she announced her resignation on Tuesday, the former Delhi chief minister replied laconically to questions regarding her return to Delhi politics. “I am not in a position to answer right now,” she said and refused to explain further.
Congress leaders Mateen Ahmed and Mohammad Asif, who met Dikshit at Kerala Bhawan, had earlier recommended to party president Sonia Gandhi that Dikshit return to Delhi.
Speaking to Newsline, Ahmed said, “The matter is quite straightforward. Sheila Dikshit is synonymous with the work that the Congress did in Delhi for 15 years. No one will deny that. With her at the front, we can return to power in Delhi,” he said.
The two have been at the fore-front of a possible rift within the Delhi Congress, advocating Dikshit’s return in place of present Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely. “It’s easier to follow someone with experience than someone younger,” Ahmed said.
While Lovely has been actively protesting on issues such as power, water and inflation in Delhi, he has been unable to carry the senior leadership with him. “Many in the party believe that Lovely’s supporters have become arrogant. They want Dikshit and Jagdish Tytler back,” a senior leader said.
However, many members regarded this view as unrealistic. “When people think of Dikshit, they also think of the CWG scam and the December 16 gangrape. It’s important for us to look forward and promote young leaders,” a senior Congress leader said.
Even though Dikshit refused to explain the reason behind her resignation, stating that she “followed her heart”, a senior leader who met her said, “It’s difficult for someone who has been active in politics to suddenly take a constitutional position. You miss it. She plans to go back to Kerala and will announce her decision when she gets back”.
Dikshit met many Delhi Congress leaders at Kerala Bhawan, now sidelined after their defeat last year, including Kiran Walia, Ramakant Goswami and Yoganand Shastri.