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Testing times ahead for Congress

By Sujay Mehdudia

NEW DELHI SEPT. 12. The woes of the Congress party in Delhi seem nowhere near ending. The disgruntled elements in DPCC are leaving no stone unturned to test the patience of the leadership. Still to recover from the embarrassment of the Atma Ram Gupta murder case, the Congress has again been thrown on the backfoot with one of its MLAs this time publicly abusing the Mayor.

The latest episode of the R.K.Puram MLA, Ashok Singh, along with the local Councillor, Kanwar Sen, openly abusing the Delhi Mayor, Jaishree Panwar, has added to the list of sordid tales that could ultimately become the undoing of the Congress in the Capital. What has been most shocking is the silence of the local leadership and the high command over this unruly episode that has hit the Congress image. It has also not done any good to the image of the party legislators and Councillors who are already under scrutiny.

The matter has already been brought to the notice of Congress president, Sonia Gandhi and the AICC general secretary, Kamal Nath, but so far there has been no action. In fact, the party is applying two yardsticks in tackling issues of discipline. The Congress moved swiftly to expel two Councillors, Sharda Jain and Memwati Barwala, for their alleged involvement in the Atma Ram Gupta case. It also did not waste time to act against the Timarpur MLA, Jagdish Anand, for make allegations against the Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit. It had also started proceedings against the Hauz Khas MLA, Kiran Walia, for allegedly working against the party candidates in the DUSU polls last year. It is another matter that Ms. Walia managed to wriggle out of the situation.

However, the local party set-up has been found wanting on the latest episode. It is believed that as the Delhi Mayor does not have a strong political backing in the party and that is why no action is being taken against Mr. Ashok Singh and Mr. Sen. The party has also found no merit in Mr. Singh staging a dharna in front of Town Hall and in his constituency against his own party and the Mayor. If at all, the MLA could have raised the matter in party forum but he preferred to air his grievances or frustration publicly and in the process showed total disrespect to a woman Councillor who also happens to the Mayor of Delhi.

Political observers feel that the abusive language used by the MLA against the Mayor should be deplored by one and all. The party leadership cannot close its eyes to such an unsavoury incident and should instead seek an explanation from the MLA and the concerned Councillor for not only showing disrespect to the Mayor but also going public with their grievances. As such the credibility of the Congress-ruled Corporation is touching a new low.

The reputation of the Councillors has nose-dived and they are being looked upon with suspicion by the people and their own partymen. It is no secret that a large number of Congress MLAs have complained to their party leaders and the Chief Minister on the need to discipline the Councillors. The legislators fear that if the Councillors continue to tarnish the image of the party at this pace, they could well prove to be a major contributory factor to the downfall of the Congress Government in the Assembly elections scheduled for next year.

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