With the void created by the sudden demise of Sheila Dikshit, the Congress faces the uphill task of looking for a leader who can fill into her shoes, ahead of the Delhi assembly polls slated in less than six months. The new leader also has to deal with the challenge of uniting the faction-ridden Delhi unit, which had already put Dikshit and other leaders, including P C Chacko, at loggerheads on a host of issues.
Although Dikshit enjoyed confidence of the party leadership, the opposition to her was evident when she and several Congress leaders were on different page on whether to have a pre-poll tie-up with the Aam Aadmi Party for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
“None in the current crop of leaders matches up to the popularity and appeal of Dikshit. The three working presidents Haroon Yusuf, Devender Yadav and Rakesh Lilothia are relatively junior to other senior leaders like J P Agarwal, A K Walia and Subhash Chopra,” said a leader.
“The sudden demise of Dikshit badly hurts Delhi Congress which is totally unprepared for it,” the leader said.
From being wiped out and relegated to the third position in every major election since 2013, the party saw some hope after it managed to dislodge the AAP and secure second position in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The Congress was on number two position in five seats.
Dikshit was also gearing up for the state assembly polls scheduled to be held in January-February next year. Now, the party has to hunt for a new leader to lead the organisation ahead of the polls.
Former Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ajya Maken had resigned on health grounds. Arvinder Lovely, who has also served as the DPCC chief in the past, has recently come back to the party after a brief stint at the BJP.