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‘Back AAP’ Plan Leaves Congress Divided But Unites Disputing ‘Delhi Boys’ Ajay Maken And Sandeep Dikshit


In 2016, Sandeep Dikshit accused Maken of deliberately tarnishing the image of his mother and former CM Sheila Dikshit. File pics/Twitter

In 2016, Sandeep Dikshit accused Maken of deliberately tarnishing the image of his mother and former CM Sheila Dikshit. File pics/Twitter

Both leaders are in agreement when it comes to opposing any support to the Aam Aadmi Party over the ordinance issue

Over the years, the Congress in Delhi has had three big faces – the late Sheila Dikshit, Ajay Maken, and Sandeep Dikshit. And the three never got along. But as they say, issues often bring warring partners together.

Today, as the Congress is caught in a dilemma over whether or not to support the Aam Aadmi Party over the ‘ordinance’ issue, the two ‘boys’ of Delhi Congress are on the same page, finally agreeing to agree.

In 2016, Sandeep Dikshit accused Maken of deliberately tarnishing the image of his mother and former CM Sheila Dikshit. This was when Maken was the Delhi Congress chief. “He prepared a false synopsis of the CAG’s Commonwealth Games report, putting in fabricated charges and sending them to a media house even before the CAG report was published,” the former East Delhi MP said.

In 2015, as the Congress faced its worst defeat in the assembly elections, Sheila Dikshit accused Maken of poor strategy and planning. She said the campaign lacked “direction, vision, and aggression”.

But PC Chacko, who was the Delhi state incharge, said it was her term as chief minister which had hurt the party. “What she did not do, issues of water, electricity, and unauthorised colonies, probably were standing against the party,” he said. So much was the bitterness that when Sheila Dikshit died in 2019, her family blamed Chacko as one of the reasons for her death, accusing him of giving her stress.

By 2018, however, Maken and Sheila seemed to be softening up and he reached out to her. The niggling issue was then whether the Congress should tie up with AAP for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. While Maken and Chacko were in favour, Sheila said “no”.

Today, AAP has divided the Congress but brought two warring leaders together. Both Sandeep Dikshit and Ajay Maken are in agreement when it comes to opposing any support to AAP over the ordinance issue. Both have told Rahul Gandhi and other top leaders a couple of things. One, the only reason Arvind Kejriwal opposes the ordinance is that he wants to avoid the possibility of vigilance action against him in the future. “There is a chance he goes to jail for up to 10 years and he wants to avoid this,” says Maken.

They have also conveyed to Rahul Gandhi that “if someday you become the PM, what Kejriwal wants can be used against you as well”.

Both Sandeep and Maken have made it clear that backing Kejriwal may seem important for opposition unity, but the ramifications of support would be grave as AAP grows at the cost of the Congress. And any support would only demoralise the cadre.

Politically, both Sandeep and Maken are at a crossroads in their political future. With Sandeep concentrating more on Madhya Pradesh, any support to AAP would only eat away at the Congress leaders’ core votes in Delhi. Hence, the coming together makes sound political sense.

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