Though battle-hardened by a series of defeats in Delhi and in the rest of the country in the past two years, no one in the Congress thought they would be completely obliterated in Delhi. Party members had discarded exit polls as inaccurate but as the results came in on Tuesday, the reality of the situation became apparent.
The Congress did not win a single seat in the Assembly polls. The party’s offices too remained deserted. A Congress worker at the office, who looks after the Delhi state unit’s administration, left soon after 1 pm. “Today the party can no longer pretend that things are fine. We are slowly being wiped out from the country. Delhi is just the latest chapter,” he said.
Congress campaign chief Ajay Maken has claimed that the cadre has remained unaffected and their morale still high. But party leaders said otherwise. “Defeat after defeat is, sooner or later, going to make workers abandon ship. Things must be done to change the situation,” a leader said.
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Many party leaders, defeated candidates and exhausted workers put up a brave face, stating that defeat is a vital part of democracy. One party worker kept flipping channels at the AICC headquarters. On being asked what he was doing, he said, “I am trying to see if Rahul Gandhi has said anything — taken responsibility for the defeat or even said that the party is going to do something.”
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Despite many in the Congress looking to Rahul Gandhi or party president Sonia Gandhi to make an appearance, it was Maken, AICC Delhi in-charge PC Chacko and Delhi unit president Arvinder Singh Lovely who promised to tender their resignations. Each of them queued up to take responsibility for the party’s worst-ever defeat in Delhi.