After poll debacle, blame game on in Cong; high command calls for ‘introspection’

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 13, 2020

Randeep Singh Surjewala. File photo   -  Rohit Jain Paras

The party’s humiliation in Delhi polls highlights its leadership crisis and the chaos over the future

A blame game broke out in the Congress a day after it was humiliated in the Delhi polls, with a beleaguered ‘high command’ urging peace and a review of individual leader’s performance during the polls.

Congress’s media in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “We want to categorically state that the Congress strongly disapproves the blame-game, the allegations and counter-allegations being hurled upon each other by the Delhi leaders. It would have been better if the leaders of the Congress in Delhi or elsewhere would have looked at and introspect upon their role, their own responsibilities and their commitment to the party and defining their own duty towards the campaign in Delhi then things would have sorted out themselves.” He said the day the Congress leaders and workers realise this the process of resurrection of the Congress will begin from that moment. “It will not happen by accusing each other, blaming each other or by levelling allegations in public. It will happen by assessment of your own campaign and commitment to the people of Delhi,” he said and lauded the ‘pioneering work’ of former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and hoped that such works do not whither away by the blamegame by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Faults recalled

What prompted the AICC to intervene was the comments by AICC Delhi in-charge PC Chacko and women’s wing leader Sharmishta Mukherjee. “The party’s downfall started since 2013. The party lost in all subsequent elections thereafter and the new outfit AAP took away all the Congress votebank,” Chacko said without naming Dikshit.

Former Minister Milind Deora slammed Chacko for the remarks. “Sheila Dikshit-ji was a remarkable politician and administrator. During her tenure as chief minister, Delhi was transformed and Congress was stronger than ever. Unfortunate to see her being blamed after her death. She dedicated her life to Congress and the people of Delhi,” Deora said.

Chacko later said he did not name Dikshit in his remarks.

Mukherjee questioned former Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who said the AAP victory was a “defeat of bluff and bluster”. She said in Twitter, “With due respect sir, just want to know- has Congress outsourced the task of defeating BJP to State parties? If not, then why r we gloating over AAP victory rather than being concerned abt our drubbing? And if ‘yes’, then we (PCCs) might as well close shop!”. Another Congress spokesman and former aide of Dikshit Pawan Khera said: “Just a data point. In 2013, when we lost, Congress vote share in Delhi was 24.55 per cent. Sheila-ji was not involved in 2015, when the vote share slipped to 9.7 per cent. In 2019, when she was back in charge, the vote share came up to 22.46 per cent.”

Meanwhile, senior leader Veerappa Moily called for a “surgical action” to revive the party.


In a late evening development, Chacko and party’s State president Subhash Chopra resigned from their post. Party president Sonia Gandhi gave the interim responsibility of the State to AICC general secretary Shaktisinh Gohail.

Published on February 12, 2020

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