The party was on a hat-trick. After drawing blank in Delhi in the Lok Sabha election of 2014 and Assembly poll of 2015, the average Congress supporters were only hoping that the results of the municipal corporation election also did not see the same. Well, it is not that the Grand-Old Party did not win zero seats in the civic polls but its position remained the same – third – not so far from the AAP but very, very far from the BJP. Though leaders like Shashi Tharoor, the MP from Thiruvananthapuram, did not find much negative in his party's show, tweeting that its vote-share has improved by far compared to the 2015 and the process of revival has begun.
Nice self-consolation: the Congress way.
Now let's turn to the actual picture. The Congress's successive losses in elections all over the country don't surprise many now. But what is troubling is the party's sliding influence in the very capital of the country where the Gandhis – its central power – are based. Losing elections one after another in Delhi give rise to the question: If the Congress fails to inspire itself in the Gandhis' backyard, how much can it expect to do in other regions of the country? Is there really any hope for the party to turn around?
After Sheila's days got over, the Congress bit the dust in Delhi
The Congress in Delhi was reduced to a sorry state ever since its former chief minister Sheila Dikshit's run was stopped by the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) Arvind Kejriwal. Former Union minister Ajay Maken took over the reins but it did not help. After the debacle on April 26, besides Maken, the Congress's Delhi in-charge PC Chacko also sent his resignation.
One would also mention in this connection that former Delhi chief of the Congress Arvinder Singh Lovely quit the party ahead of the civic elections and joined the BJP. The party also expelled the chief of its women's wing in Delhi Barkha Singh after she resigned questioning the leadership skills of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Maken. She also joined the BJP later.
These developments suggest that the Congress is experiencing two developments at the same time. On one hand, people who genuinely feel committed to the party are finding it suffocating because of negative leadership and are deserting it. On the other hand, people who are incapable of doing any good for the party are busy resigning after polls debacles to impress their top bosses. The ultimate loser amid all the chaos is the party itself.
The Congress will find it almost impossible to make a return in Delhi politics
With age not on the side of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Dikshit, who used to be the party's poster girl eve in other states, and Rahul Gandhi nowhere near proving his worth as a leader, it is essentially a lost battle for the party in Delhi in the near future. The infighting and dissatisfaction within the party's ranks have also seen departures of Lovely and Barkha and it seems the vacuum is almost impossible to be fulfilled now.
The Congress's task was made difficult in the past years by the rise of the AAP and it was pushed to the third position amid the personality clash between Kejriwal and PM Narendra Modi. It has been seen that the Congress has struggled to return to prominence in states where it has been pushed to the third position and Delhi has witnessed no exception.
Kejriwal, although has seen a fall from grace over the last few elections, but he will continue to be a prominent player in Delhi's politics for more days, making it challenging for a virtually faceless Congress to make any mark even though it showed a comparatively better show compared to 2015.