With Delhi possibly heading towards a mini assembly election, Congress President Rahul Gandhi has reportedly directed the party’s city unit chief Ajay Maken to sort out his differences with the former chief minister, Sheila Dikshit.
Directed by Gandhi, Maken met Dikshit, who was the chief minister of Delhi for 15 years, last week and requested her to play more active role ahead of the possible bypolls in 20 assembly constituencies. Maken tweeted after his meeting with Dikshit, “Met Mrs Sheila Dikshit and requested her for more active role in Delhi Congress. Delhi now remembers her for a sane and development oriented governance. Sheila ji had a great role in mentoring me as her Cabinet minister. We will all work together to regain the glory of Delhi.”
Congress had failed to win a single seat in the 70-seat Delhi assembly elections in February 2015. In the subsequent assembly bypolls and the elections for the three civic bodies, the party’s performance was considerably poor. All-India Congress Committee general secretary in-charge of Delhi PC Chacko recently submitted his report to Gandhi detailing the reasons for the dwindling popularity of the party in Delhi. In his report, he’s believed to have blamed the rift between Dikshit and Maken as one of the reasons for the party’s inability to regain its lost glory.
According to top sources, Chacko also said that Maken had failed to convince the Delhi voters about the 15 years of ‘good governance’ of Dikshit.
Such was Dikshit’s disenchantment that she along with other leaders had even complained to the Congress president about the functioning of the party’s Delhi unit. Dikshit also distanced herself from the party’s daily affairs and made just two visits to the party’s Delhi office since Maken was made president of the city unit. Soon after the MCD results were out, Dikshit had reportedly said, “The party was not able to reach out (to voters) the way we should have. Any excuse can be given when you don’t want to do anything. The decision has to be taken by the high command. The leadership needs to introspect.”
Several high-profile Congress leaders had quit the party ahead of the MCD polls last year thereby adversely affecting its poll prospects. Apart from Dikshit, several other tall Congress leaders, who held ministerial positions in the previous Congress governments including Yoganand Shastri, AK Walia, Haroon Yusuf and Kiran Walia will also join the party’s campaign team.