In a moment meant for news cameras, former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit and her loyalist-turned-bitter rival Ajay Maken on Wednesday came together to launch a united onslaught on the Arvind Kejriwal government on its third anniversary.
It was a rare occasion when the two shared stage, and Maken repeatedly made references to the development work carried out under the 15 years of the Dikshit government. The main thrust of Maken's remarks was to draw a comparison between the 'achievements' of the Congress dispensation under Dikshit, and failures of the Kejriwal government.
The idea clearly being to hark back to the Dikshit years, the former chief minister was there along with her entire erstwhile cabinet.
“In the 15 years that Sheila Dikshitji led the Delhi government, immense work was done for the development of the city, and it is amply supported by statistics. On the contrary, the AAP government has not even been able to maintain the work done earlier. Development has come to a standstill under the Kejriwal government,” Maken told reporters after he and Diskhit released a booklet, highlighting the failures of the AAP regime.
He referred to the steps taken by the Dikshit government in areas such as education, healthcare, transportation and infrastructure development, and claimed that under the AAP rule, there has been a deterioration in all these fields.
Asked about Dikshit making a re-appearance on the Delhi scene, Maken admitted his mistake in not reaching out to her earlier, saying, “As PCC president, I should have taken the effort. We should have cooperated earlier. I admit my mistake.”
Dikshit took a dig at the Kejriwal government, saying people in her locality have started calling the present dispensation “Advertisement ki Sarkar” rather than “AAP ki Sarkar”. “They make a lot of announcements. But no work is done. There are advertisements everywhere. But the work that needs to be done is not getting done.”
According to sources, the united face is necessitated by the possibility of bypolls in 20 constituencies, as the same number of MLAs of the AAP in Delhi assembly have been disqualified for holding office of profit. The bypolls will be a sort of a mini-assembly election, and it will offer the Congress—which has zero presence in the Vidhan Sabha at present—with the opportunity to make a comeback.
It is learnt that Maken, acting on the directions of the Congress high command, took the initiative to reach out to Dikshit and persuade her to come on board. However, it took a few meetings for Maken to convince Dikshit to come back to the Delhi platform.