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Sheila Dikshit may be asked to explain election mess

Thursday, 26 December 2013 - 10:21am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

After the decimation, the deliberations. The Congress is looking for the reasons behind its abject failure to retain power in Delhi. And former CM Sheila Dikshit will face some tough questions at the January 17 meeting of the AICC. She will have to answer why she gave tickets to 15 sitting MLAs despite strong resistance against them.

Immediately after the embarrasing defeat, Dikshit blamed the party for not supporting its candidates. Without naming former PCC president JP Agarwal, Dikshit said that party workers did not support the candidates who contested the elections, resulting in their defeat. While the party high command will also question Agarwal for the poor show, more fingers will be pointed at Dikshit. After all, the former CM had the last laugh in the ticket distribution before the assembly elections.

Of the then 43 sitting Congress MLAs, the party, after rigorous scrutiny, cleared the names of only 28 candidates who would get tickets to contest the elections. Names of two sitting ministers were also dropped from the list.

Senior Congress leader Madhusudan Mistry — who is also member of the AICC election coordination committee — also asked Dikshit and the PCC to give tickets to only 28 sitting MLAs and replace the others. However, sources confirmed that Dikshit had her way despite reservations from various quarters within the party. She distributed tickets as per her whims and fancies.

Several Congress leaders in Delhi who had contested and lost the municipal elections in 2012, had then complained to the PCC and AICC that the MLAs did not cooperate with them in the polls.

Now, Dikshit will have to justify why her MLAs did not support the councillors, leading to the defeat of the Congress in the municipal elections for the second consecutive time. Also, since the MLAs worked against the local candidates then, it was time for the local workers to work against the interests of their own party candidates.

Political observers, however, feel that Dikshit did not want the Congress to win the municipal elections. “When the Congress is ruling the state and the BJP is in power in the municipal body, it gets very easy for the state to blame the local bodies for things that do not work. Being in power at both places leads to more accountability and fewer chances of playing the blame game, which Dikshit did not want to happen,” said a political observer.

In the AICC meeting called later next month in the capital to deliberate on the party’s current situation and the way forward for the 2014 general elections, Dikshit’s role will be under the scanner. “She was Delhi CM for 15 years. She will face all the tough questions from the AICC about the party’s failure in Delhi,” said a senior leader.

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