Delhi elections: 63 of 70 Congress candidates lost deposits
New Delhi, Feb 12: Congress' performance in the Delhi assembly elections touched a record low with the party bagging less than 5 per cent votes and 63 of its candidates losing their deposits.
The party, which ruled Delhi for 15 years on the trot under former chief minister Sheila Dikshit, failed to open its account for the second consecutive time in the Delhi assembly elections.
Only three candidates - Arvinder Singh Lovely from Gandhi Nagar, Devender Yadav from Badli and Abhishek Dutt from Kasturba Nagar - could save their deposits.
The Congress contested the polls this time in alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal, fighting on 66 seats and leaving four for its ally.
The security deposit of a candidate is forfeited if he/she fails to secure one-sixth of the total valid votes cast in a constituency.
Most of the Congress candidates got less than five per cent of the total votes polled in their respective constituencies.
Delhi Congress chief Shubhash Chopra's daughter Shivani Chopra, who was the party candidate from Kalkaji, also could not save her deposit.
Former Delhi Assembly speaker Yoganand Shastri's daughter, Priyanka Singh, also forfeited her deposit. The vice-president of Delhi Mahila Congress got only 3.6 per cent votes.
The party's campaign committee chairman and former cricketer Kirti Azad's wife, Poonam Azad, lost badly and stood fourth, polling only 2,604 (2.23 per cent) votes.
Devender Yadav, the party's candidate from the Badli seat, polled 19.66 per cent votes, while Arvinder Singh Lovely from Gandhi Nagar got 19.14 per cent.
The Congress' Kasturba Nagar candidate, Abhishek Dutt, got 21.42 per cent votes and stood a distant third.
The Congress was expected to do good in the minority-dominated seats due to its vehement criticism of the government over the amended citizenship law and police highhandedness at Jamia Millia. However, its candidates lost deposits in all such constituencies too.
Congress candidate from Ballimaran and former Delhi Minister Haroon Yusuf could garner a paltry 4.73 per cent votes.
Alka Lamba, the outgoing MLA who switched to the Congress last year, could garner only 5.03 per cent votes, while the youngest candidate this election and former DUSU president, Rocky Tuseed, polled 3.8 per cent votes.
With the Congress receiving 22.46 per cent votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, pushing the Aam Aadmi Party to the third spot, many hoped it would improve its performance in the Assembly elections.
However, the party's vote percentage dropped from 9.7 per cent in 2015 to 4.2 per cent this time. In the 2013 Assembly elections, it had polled 24.55 per cent votes.
Sheila Dikshit's son, Sandeep Dikshit, said the results did not surprise him and internal politics kept the party from doing good.
Delhi Mahila Congress chief and party spokesperson Sharmishtha Mukherjee said in a tweet, "We are again decimated in Delhi. Enough of introspection, time for action now.
Inordinate delay in decision making at the top, lack of strategy and unity at the state level, demotivated workers, no grassroots connect-all are factors. Being part of the system, I too take my share of responsibility."
Her colleague Jaiveer Shergill suggested that the Congress should avoid things like justifying defeat, finding happiness in the BJP's defeat and telling itself that wins and losses are cyclic in elections.
A few Congress leaders also acknowledged that the party did not go full throttle into campaigning.
Senior Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra campaigned for party candidates just two-three days ahead of the elections.
The party candidates lost deposits in all the seats where the Gandhis had addressed rallies - Jangpura, Sangam Vihar, Chandni Chowk and Kondli.
Taking moral responsibility for the defeat, Shubhash Chopra said, "I worked for 20-21 hours every day, but I am not tired yet. The Delhi Congress will continue to fight."