Although Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has been ruling the Capital since the past 13 years, Delhi’s civic body seems to be completely out of her reach. The Congress party and Brand Sheila took a severe beating yesterday, as Delhiites voted BJP back to power in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. Congress, which was relying heavily on Dikshit, failed to capture even one out of the three municipalities. The party managed to secure just 75 out of the 272 seats.
In fact, the Congress was banking on the development work done prior to the 2010 Commonwealth Games that literally changed the face of Delhi. The party was prompt to sell Dikshit as ‘mascot of development’ in Delhi and the other party ruled states. The verdict was nothing but a shocker for the Congress party in general and Sheila Dikshit in particular. The reason: Despite strong opposition by BJP, and even by some of her own party leaders, Dikshit got the civic body divided into three parts last year.
Sources said the jolt that Dikshit experienced was stronger than it seemed because she was actively involved in the candidate selection process and had given tickets to her close confidants, completely sidelining the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) Chief J P Aggarwal. Even party insiders feel that dividing the corporation was unwarranted. “General public doesn’t care if there’s one or three municipalities in the city,” said a Congress worker.
Jitender Kochhar, spokesperson of Delhi Congress, said the spiralling prices defeated the Congress. “The prime reason behind party’s loss is the ever-increasing inflation,” he said. Some party workers also claimed that the scams that pop-up at the Centre every other day proved too costly to the party.
The big jolt
What’s more distressing for Sheila Dikshit is the fact that the party suffered defeat even in East Delhi municipality. Dikshit, her MP son Sandeep, and DPCC Chief JP Aggarwal represent East Delhi, which is considered a Congress bastion. Also, the party lost badly in areas represented by Union Ministers Ajay Maken, Kapil Sibal and Krishna Tirath. The only solace for the Congress came from South Delhi, where it managed to increase its tally.