India

After Sheila Dikshit's demise — Vacuum of leadership, long road ahead for Congress

After Sheila Dikshit's demise — Vacuum of leadership, long road ahead for Congress

The death of Delhi Congress president Sheila Dikshit Saturday comes at a time when she was trying to overhaul the state unit and make a fresh push for next year’s Assembly elections.

With Delhi polls six months away, party leaders said the main challenge before them is to unite state leaders, who are currently divided into several camps. “We are trying to overcome the grief… once we settle down, maybe in next 10 days, we will chose the new president. But the true tribute to Sheila ji would be that everyone should set aside their differences and put up a united face,” former DPCC president Ajay Maken said.

Sources said AICC in-charge of Delhi P C Chacko will hold a meeting with the party high command in the coming days to discuss possible candidates for party president in Delhi.

According to sources, there are several camps in the party, with some senior leaders not seeing eye to eye on the functioning of the state unit.

A senior Congress leader said, “Though we lost the Lok Sabha elections, the fact that we were ahead of AAP in most seats was some consolation for us. It showed people still had confidence in Sheila ji. We now need a leader like her who can take everyone along.”

“J P Agarwal could make a comeback as party president; he is someone who has good relations with most senior leaders… Ajay Maken is also favoured by many… Arvinder Singh Lovely could also be considered because he has taken opponents head on,” the leader said.

Another Congress leader said Dikshit was the face of development work done by party in the capital during her 15-year tenure — something the party hoped to reiterate as polls came closer. “We don’t have a leader of that calibre to project in the upcoming Assembly polls,” he said.