Sheila Dikshit cited lack of party support for the Delhi debacle; Sharad Pawar prescribes introspection; Party’s spokesperson Janardan Dwivedi had said the Congress lost in Delhi because the party and the State Government had not been on the same page for five years… The Congress leadership was reduced to sullen silence in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan… Privately, Congress MPs were seething with humiliation and frustration — their ire was largely directed against party Vice-president, Rahul Gandhi…
The Congress recently bagged two-thirds of the seats in the 40-member Mizoram Assembly and was poised to form the Government. But, this victory appeared eclipsed by the party’s squabbles, which spilled out in the open after its demoralising defeat in the other four Assembly elections. The Bharatiya Janata Party, on the other hand, luxuriated in its triumph and announced its Chief Ministerial candidates — Vasundhara Raje for Rajasthan, Shivraj Singh Chouhan for Madhya Pradesh and Raman Singh for Chhattisgarh.
Following a classic hung mandate in Delhi, no party was ready to form a Government in the capital, though pro forma, Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung must ask BJP (which has won 32 of the 70 seats) first. However, BJP told its members it would prefer to face another polls rather than form a Government through horse-trading.
The Congress leadership was reduced to sullen silence in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. But in Delhi, Sheila Dikshit charged the party with not cooperating with her during her tenure. Tensions between her and fellow party leader Jai Prakash Aggarwal have been the Congress’s worst-kept secret. Party’s spokesperson Janardan Dwivedi had said the Congress lost in Delhi because the party and the State Government had not been on the same page for five years.
Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar rubbed it in by asking the Congress to introspect. He blamed it on Sonia Gandhi’s National Advisory Council and the personality of the Prime Minister. Comparing Sonia Gandhi to Indira Gandhi, he said the latter had a strong personality and was guided by her own instinct. “Unlike today, the class of people always willing to give their free advice on every matter was absent in those days. Such is the clout of these free advisors that people from the media, as well as the Government, fall prey and start believing their opinion to be those of people. If a leader can be confident and decisive about his people-oriented policies, he will not have to contend with such new power centres,” Pawar said.
Privately, Congress MPs were seething with humiliation and frustration — their ire was largely directed against party Vice-president, Rahul Gandhi. “So is all this also ‘nonsense’,” asked a Congress Minister of State, referring to Gandhi’s comment about the ordinance on convicted MPs. He said younger Congressmen had supposedly been empowered but were not given responsibility: As a result, it was an AAP walking away with young voters’ backing. Seven MPs from Seemandhra filed a no-confidence motion against their own party, reflecting the sense of betrayal they were feeling. Besides, four Telugu Desam Party members of the Lok Sabha and three members of YSR Congress Party, led by Jaganmohan Reddy, also gave separate notices to Speaker Meira Kumar for moving the no-confidence motion. But none of these is likely to be registered because a no-trust vote requires support of at least 10 per cent strength of the House.
Adding to the pressure on the Government was social activist Anna Hazare, who started another fast unto death this time at Ralegan Siddhi, his home turf, unless the Government promulgates the Jan Lok Pal Bill. As all parties went into a huddle to debate strategies, it was clear that the next lap of the electoral race — the general elections of 2014 had begun.