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Congress leadership issues warning to Sheila Dikshit
Sunil Ghatade in New Delhi | September 17, 2006 16:15 IST
The Congress high command has virtually put Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee chief Rambabu Sharma on notice, suggesting that their continuance would depend on the ruling party's performance in the civic elections due early next year.
Highly placed party sources said it was high time the party gets its act together in the national capital, ahead of the crucial polls where stakes are high for the ruling Congress.
Acknowledging that the Municipal Corporation elections were not an easy affair in view of the demolition and sealing drives, as also people's grievances over inadequate supply of water and power, they said that this was all the more reason that the party and the government put up a united face.
The sources said that the recent success of the National Students Union of India in the Delhi Univerity Students' Union polls was an example of how things turn out in favour of the party when the chief minister and the PCC chief put their differences aside and work together.
The warning by the central leadership has come close on the heels of the announcement of the much-delayed list of PCC executive and office-bearers, which has been tilted in favour of the detractors of the chief minister, including Sharma, Sajjan Kumar and Jagdish Tytler.
The Congress had performed remarkably well in the Lok Sabha elections by winning six of the seven seats in Delhi and had three ministers at the Centre till Tytler was forced to step down in the wake of the Nanavati Commission report on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
In the previous Lok Sabha, the BJP had won all the seven seats.
Sharma was appointed PCC chief soon after the 2004 polls and since then he and the chief minister could not hit it off. The schism between the two widened after the demolition and sealing drives, which hit the PCC chief hard since he is the dominant figure in the politics of MCD.
The sources said that the chief minister did not endear herself with the leadership by distancing herself from the demolition issue, apparently feeling that it was a matter within the domain of the PCC chief.
Sharma's continuance was in itself an indication of the mind of the leadership on Delhi affairs.
Dikshit was considered 'efficient' by the leadership, but her style of functioning did not go down well with a section of workers, who complained to the party high command.