Saturday, Nov 02, 2002
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By Sujay Mehdudia
Insiders in the party say a handful of dissident MLAs, provoked reportedly by certain Delhi Congress and AICC leaders, decided to launch a signature campaign against the Sheila Dikshit Government, to project it as an incompetent and inefficient set-up. The campaign was initiated by known dissident MLAs who took upon themselves to seek the signatures of MLAs on this anti-Sheila onslaught order to make a representation to the party president, Sonia Gandhi, that all was not well within the Congress Government.
Unfortunately, these handful of legislators found little support among the various sections and their claim that more than two dozen MLAs would sign on the dotted line fell flat on the face. Trying to find roots in the now fizzled out infamous dissident movement, these MLAs found much to their shock that not many were ready to back their claim. In the end only around seven to eight MLAs signed the letter. But these handful of MLAs refused to give up and went to town claiming that around two dozen signatures had been obtained. It is believed that the campaign was launched at the initiative of a senior AICC functionary dabbling in Delhi affairs.
So poor was the response of the MLAs, that the letter that was widely circulated and rumoured to have reached the leadership was reportedly withdrawn. This attempt by the disgruntled elements once again to launch an oust Sheila campaign is being seen as nothing but efforts to destabilise a Congress Government which is set to complete four years in office next month with the feel good factor still in its favour. It is believed that known senior dissident Delhi Congress leaders were behind this move that was grounded due to lack of support even before it took off.
With hardly a year to go for elections, party legislators are just not ready to take the plunge into dissident activity and want to concentrate in their constituencies to consolidate their position. "We had done everything possible to ensure the ouster of the Chief Minister. But the high command refused to oblige. The senior party leaders just misused our strength for their personal gains and in the end dumped many of us. Now we are not going to fall in their trap and start the same game which brought us nothing but misfortune and misery,'' remarked a former dissident MLA.
The talk of some loyalist MLAs having joined hands with the disgruntled leaders is being hotly debated in the party. It is learnt that a few loyalist MLAs have been hobnobbing with disgruntled Congress leaders to play safe. But this is hardly a gain for the dissident leaders as their own hard core MLAs have deserted them and have joined the Sheila Dikshit camp. Even this lot of loyalist MLAs, who are fence sitters, have refused to come out openly against the Government or its leadership and are doing everything in private. "There is no alternate to the leadership of Ms. Dikshit. With hardly a year to go, it would also not be advisable to make any change at the helm,'' remarked a senior Congress MLA.
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