After a massive defeat in the Delhi elections, the Congress leaders have started questioning the Congress Working Committee (CWC). On February 20 Senior MP Shashi Tharoor also urged the CWC to hold leadership elections to energise party workers.
Crux of the Matter
Shashi Tharoor, Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram, tweeted his views by quoting former MP and Sheila Dikshit’s son Sandeep Dikshit who had openly criticised the Congress leadership.
I’m actually feeling rather dismayed by our senior leaders. Most of them have been former chief ministers, even some of our current CMs who are very senior, I think it is time for them to come up and go the extra mile for their party.
– Sandeep Dikshit
The Congress had ruled Delhi for three consecutive terms till 2013 with Sheila Dikshit as Chief Minister. Not only could they not win even a single seat in the recent elections but also its candidates lost their deposits in 63 seats.
In the previous week, Jairam Ramesh compared the Delhi result to ‘coronavirus’ for the Congress and had said that some in the party still behave like ministers even after six years out of power.
Former Union Minister Manish Tewari had recently said that the party needs to think about reorienting its economic philosophy which continues to be fairly socialistic and bring clarity on the question of secularism and its brand of nationalism. Senior leaders like Jyotiraditya Scindia also have suggested that the party needs to reinvent itself.
Sandeep Dikshit in an interview said that the party’s biggest challenge was the leadership question. He said that Rahul Gandhi had asked senior leaders to elect a new president but they failed. It is time for Amarinder Singh, Ashok Gehlot, Kamal Nath, AK Antony, P Chidambaram, Salman Khurshid, Ahmed Patel to intellectually contribute and get into leadership selection. He said, “there are at least six-eight Congress leaders capable of leading the party, but sometimes you want inaction because you don’t want a certain action to happen”.
After the Delhi results a large section of Congress leaders reacted by openly congratulating Aam Aadmi Party and Arvind Kejriwal for defeating the BJP. The other section of Congress lamented its own leaders praising a rival party that grew at the cost of the Congress.
The Congress Working Committee (CWC) is the executive committee of the Indian National Congress formed in December 1920 at Nagpur session of INC which was headed by C. Vijayaraghavachariar. It typically consists of fifteen members elected from the All India Congress Committee. It is headed by the Working President which currently is Sonia Gandhi. In the period prior to independence in 1947, the Working Committee was the centre of power, and the Working President was frequently more active than the Congress President. In the period after 1967, when the Congress Party split for the first time the power of the Working Committee declined; but Indira Gandhi’s triumph in 1971 led to a re-centralisation of power away from the states and the All-India Congress Committee and caused the Working Committee in Delhi to once again be the paramount decision-making body of the party. More Info
In the recently concluded Delhi elections, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) secured majority with 62 seats, whereas the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) secured the remaining 8 seats. CM Arvind Kejriwal will continue to be at the helm of National Capital.
Crux of the Matter
AAP 2.0 Report Card AAP government from 2015 had carried out various constructive programs in the social sector to improve the standard of living of Delhiites. The state government has contributed immensely to the education and healthcare sector. As promised in the AAP 2015 manifesto, the party built 8,000 new classrooms and 500 new schools.
Moreover, the Kejriwal government took steps to make education up to 12th class free. Management quotas for admissions were done away with and new scholarships, that did not have the ‘family income’ criteria, for students scoring more than 80% were introduced.
In the healthcare sector, AAP’s flagship program, Aam Aadmi Mohalla Clinic (AAMC) that included setting up primary health clinics to provide free consultations, medicines, and tests, was praised by UN Secretary Generals. It also introduced a subsidy on electricity consumption. It also proposed free metro rides for women, children, and senior citizens.
AAP government was criticized on the front of pollution and water. AAP government ran the odd-even scheme for another year to tackle pollution and promote environmental friendliness. It launched a program of doorstep delivery of government services like ration card, driving license, etc.
Women’s safety remained a concern for the government, promising to install CCTV cameras and WiFi services across Delhi and to deploy bus marshals to ensure safety of women.
AAP had also mentioned in its agenda to give Delhi full statehood although it has no powers to do so.
Dildaar Dilli? Political Parties seek power at the heart of the nation as the ruling party of Delhi gets eyeballs at every major event in India. Delhi is neither a Union Territory nor a State. The party in power in Delhi does not have power over law and order. AAP has time and again mentioned that it wants to give Delhi full statehood.
Recognition of the work done by AAP seems to have translated into election results. The political campaigning in light of recent anti-CAA protests left a polarising mark on Delhiites.
Delhi – House of Cards With incidents of protests surfacing in the national capital, Shaheen Bagh became one of the central issues for the election agenda. BJP picked up the Shaheen Bagh axe to severe AAP’s ties in Delhi, with BJP leaders making statements that led Elections Commission to reprimand them.
BJP leader Anurag Thakur raised the infamous ‘desh ke gaddaron ko’ slogan. While BJP MP Parvesh Verma was banned for 4 days by EC for calling Arvind Kejriwal ‘terrorist’ during campaigning. Home Minister Amit Shah set in motion his party’s election tactic by making Shaheen Bagh protests a central electoral agenda. It must be noted that the person who fired during Shaheen Bagh protests was linked to AAP. Also, AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan was spotted on stage multiple times with Sharjeel Imam during Shaheen Bagh protests and was also linked with other anti-CAA protests in Delhi.
D-Day in Numbers The voter turnout ratio in Delhi was observed at 62.59% which was 4% less than the last assembly elections, but 2% more than the 2019 General Election.
Aam Aadmi Party received 53.64% of the total votes cast, whereas the Bharatiya Janta Party received 38.5% of the total votes cast. Congress received 4.25% votes. Other votes were distributed among other parties and None Of The Above (NOTA).
The seat of Okhla that constitutes Shaheen Bagh – the center of political war and Anti-CAA protests – was won by AAP’s Amanatullah Khan by a margin of 71,827 votes. He has been at the forefront of Anti-CAA protests held at Shaheen Bagh.
Congress Chief of Delhi, Mr. Subhash Chopra resigned from the post of Regional Party Chief after the election results.
Overview of Winners Looking at the declarations made by MLAs in their affidavit, 43 candidates of AAP who have won the election have criminal cases against them. Of them, 37 face serious criminal charges. 5 BJP MLAs have declared criminal charges in their form. The average assets of the elected AAP MLAs are INR14.96 crores, whereas of BJP MLAs are INR 9.10 crores.
Vote of Thanks
Arvind Kejriwal – Arvind Kejriwal is an Indian politician and a former bureaucrat who is the current and 7th Chief Minister of Delhi since February 2015. He was also the Chief Minister of Delhi from December 2013 to February 2014, stepping down after 49 days of assuming power. Currently, he is the national convener of the Aam Aadmi Party, which won the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections with a historic majority, obtaining 67 out of 70 assembly seats. In 2006, Kejriwal was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership in recognition of his involvement in the grassroots level movement Parivartan using right to information legislation in a campaign against corruption. The same year, after resigning from Government service, he donated his Magsaysay award money as a corpus fund to found the Public Cause Research Foundation, a non-governmental organisation (NGO). More Info