"The downfall of the Congress party started in 2013 when Sheila ji was the CM. The emergence of a new party AAP took away the entire Congress vote bank. We could never get it back. It still remains with AAP," he said a day after scoring a duck in Delhi assembly elections.
Chacko's comment drew sharp criticism from his party members, with former Mumbai Congress chief Milind Deora saying that it was unfortunate to see Sheila Dikshit being blamed after her death.
Sheila Dikshit ji was a remarkable politician & administrator. During her tenure as Chief Minister, Delhi was transformed & Congress was stronger than ever.— Milind Deora मिलिंद देवरा (@milinddeora) February 12, 2020
Unfortunate to see her being blamed after her death. She dedicated her life to @INCIndia & the people of Delhi https://t.co/XwQPlHE6cw
Senior leader Pawan Khera, too, reminded that the party's vote share increased when Dikshit was at the helm of affairs in 2019 after staying away in 2015.
Just a data point. In 2013, when we lost, @INCIndia vote share in Delhi was 24.55%. Sheila ji was not involved in 2015, when the vote share slipped to 9.7%. In 2019, when she was back in charge, the vote share came up to 22.46%. https://t.co/MvwHouRILh— Pawan Khera (@Pawankhera) February 12, 2020
The grand old party of Indian politics was out of the race in each of the 70 constituencies by distant margins with 63 of its candidates losing their security deposits. Lack of a credible face, weak strategy and candidates led to the washout of the party in Delhi, where it was seen as a reluctant contestant that lacked the fighting spirit.
The Congress did not win any seat in the 2015 assembly elections but had managed to garner a 9.7 per cent vote share. This time, it stood decimated further after it ceded its vote bank.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the party's defeat in Delhi is disappointing but claimed that "we have, however, not lost the battle". "The Congress party will go back to the drawing board, recalibrate its policy and strategy and build a new fresh leadership from the grassroots up. We are determined to raise people's voice in Delhi as a responsible opposition and stakeholder in the progress of the national capital," Surjewala said.
The dismal show put up by the Congress was also met with social media mockery and brutal memes.