New Delhi, April 26, 2017: Former Delhi Chief Minister and Congress leader Sheila Dikshit on Wednesday said that her party did not campaign aggressively enough to win the civic polls but exonerated the party high command from any blame for the loss, putting the defeat squarely on local leaders.
She also said that despite being elected thrice in a row to be the Chief Minister of Delhi, she had not been invited to campaign for party candidates for the municipal polls.
“Congress did not campaign in an aggressive way. It did not do what it should have done to win the Delhi civic polls,” Dikshit told reporters.
“Responsibility of the MCD elections rests with local leaders (Ajay Maken, the Delhi Congress chief). The high command cannot be pulled into this. It is the Pradesh Congress Committee which should bear the blame,” Dikshit said while speaking to India Today TV.
Her comments came as Maken announced his resignation from the party post following the party’s rout.
Asked why she did not campaign for Congress candidates, Dikshit said: “I was not invited for any of the campaign programmes. If I would have been informed, I would have certainly done so.”
Her remarks came as counting trends showed the BJP heading for a clean sweep in all three MCD bodies.
On Congress leaders Arvinder Singh Lovely and Barkha Singh Shukla leaving the party to join the BJP and pointing fingers at a weak leadership for the grand old party’s downfall, Dikshit said: “No blame can rest on one person, a party is a collective responsibility.”
Asked why Delhi’s middle class which once voted for her for years has now come out to vote for Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP, Dikshit said: “This vote is neither for Modi nor myself.”
Dikshit said the media should ask the “right people in the party” the question why she was not engaged in the campaign process despite the fact that the party fought the election on the work that she had done in the city during her 15 years in power.
On allegations by the AAP of tampering with EVMs, and on the Arvind Kejriwal-led party’s future, Dikshit said: “It is the way they function that has caused their votes to vanish.”
“There is a question mark on the kind of work the Aam Aadmi Party does.”
“There has been no work done in Delhi since AAP came to power. They need to introspect,” Dikshit added.
Asked whether the AAP’s loss signalled an end to the “AAP kind” of politics, Dikshit said: “Well, they have no kind of politics. All they do is blame…AAP’s future is obvious from today’s results.”
“Winners and losers have different versions to the problem (of EVM tampering). But in a case like this, the government and the Election Commission should come up with a solution.”
She pointed to the Punjab elections, in which the Congress won, saying the party never raised any issue over the EVMs.
She also said the Congress will bounce back. “The Congress is going through a bad phase. The BJP also did for a long time. We will also come back. Congress’ soul resides in India, people will understand.”