The hand was visible. So was Gandhi, through the half-open door. “MCD Election-2017 CONTROL ROOM” read an A-4 paper pasted on the wall outside. It was in this conference room at No. 2, DDU Marg — with an array of steel chairs facing the stage — that a belligerent trio once defended their chief.
But Tuesday, as results were tallied up for the civic polls, Sheila Dikshit’s sentinels — Arvinder Singh Lovely, Haroon Yusuf and Ramakant Goswami — were all scattered. One had defected, the other two disappeared.
Instead, there was calm, besides, some journalists fanning themselves or talking on their phones. The man who led the party’s election strategy, Ajay Maken, was nowhere to be seen but the television in his office was switched on.
For a very brief moment, it seemed like his party could make it past those newcomers with brooms — not so new anymore.
The vote share looked promising, up from 9.6 per cent in 2015 — the lowest vote share it ever secured in the national capital — which prompted party leaders to talk about a revival.
“This is a very big jump for the Congress,” Kiran Walia, who was once Delhi’s women and child development minister, was heard saying on TV. Later, as the capital’s wards were painted saffron, she admitted there indeed is a “Modi wave”.
Meanwhile, Maken appeared in front of cameras at Vijay Chowk admitting to be “personally disappointed” with the results and offering his resignation to the party high command.
Less than two kilometres away, the party high command, that operated from 24, Akbar Road, was nowhere to be seen.
Inside, a security guard in front of a locked office with Sonia Gandhi’s nameplate on it, said: “There is nobody around.”
Except for a gardener tending to his plants, there was an eerie calm here too.