Delhi: Congress comes out of its shell, dares BJP to face polls

Sanjeev Singh November 01, 2014 11:38:03 IST
Delhi: Congress comes out of its shell, dares BJP to face polls

New Delhi: While the stage is being set for the BJP to stake claim in Delhi, the dormant Congress has come out of its shell to throw a challenge at the move. In the first clear sign of a political decision in months, it has dared the BJP to go in for an election. Earlier, the party looked confused about its strategy in Delhi.

Delhi Congress comes out of its shell dares BJP to face polls

Representational Image. AFP

After a comprehensive loss in the 2013 assembly election, public disenchantment was high and no one was willing to hear them out. The result was no different in 2014 general elections where the BJP won a sweeping mandate at the Centre. After a period of inactivity and internal chaos, the party has finally summoned the confidence to be stand up and be counted in Delhi. The BJP’s flip flop on the issue of forming a government has made them bolder.

“When they had 32 MLAs, they didn’t form the government, now how can they claim that they can form a government with 28 MLAs?” asked Ajay Maken, head of Congress media department. “It is simply not possible to form the government without horse trading. Inviting the BJP to form the government will only encourage further horse trading and we will oppose it tooth and nail,” he added.

Though the Congress has always maintained in public that it has never been shy of facing another election in Delhi, the truth was otherwise. Most of their eight MLAs had already conveyed to the leadership that another election would certainly mean less of them getting elected. But with the BJP being in power at the Centre and the Aam Admi Party (AAP) still struggling to convince voters why they ran away from governance in 49 days, there is a new found spring in the party’s steps. Even though BJP has swept Haryana and is all set to assume power in Maharashtra, the party pushing for by polls for three seats in Delhi is a clear indication that they are unsure of the results going their way.

Both the AAP and the Congress have been daring the BJP to go in for an election, especially the Congress which is even taking potshots at constitutional authorities. “No party is in a position to form the government in Delhi. This is known not only to the people of Delhi, but the entire country as well except Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung,” said Shakeel Ahmad, senior Congress leader and in charge of Delhi affairs.

While BJP may have managed to claim ownership of the broom (also AAP’s party symbol) through Modi’s Bharat Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the saffron party has come in for criticism on other fronts. Congress has been tirelessly organizing protests against water and power shortage across the city during the summers, while BJP was caught on the wrong foot when it blamed the previous government for not taking measures in advance. Though the Centre has brought down fuel prices in the past week or so, most BJP MLAs are still not in favour of facing another election just yet.

“Let them face an election if they truly believe there is a so called Modi wave in the country,” says Sandeep Dikshit, former Delhi MP and spokesperson, Congress.

The recent riots in East Delhi’s Trilokpuri area have also tarnished the image of the party, with Opposition blaming them for stoking the fire. Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi took everyone by surprise when he was quick to meet the area’s peace committee workers this Tuesday. “A few months ago, no one was willing to hear anything negative about the BJP, times are changing now,” says a senior leader. “After this incident (Trilokpuri), the real communal face of the BJP is out for everyone to see,” he added. Incidentally, half of party MLA’s are Muslims and the party has been struggling to keep them on their side since the AAP came.

During the 2013 assembly election, the Congress stood a divided house with senior leaders blaming each other for their shocking performance where sitting Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit too lost. The Congress knows that it has seen the worst in the last assembly election, and now is the time to regroup. Senior Dikshit has made it amply clear that she is not interested in Delhi politics, and that has the second rung leadership breathing easy. With almost nothing to lose, the party hopes to expose the BJP’s tall claims of governance. And that in itself explains the new-found vigour amongst their leadership.

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