NEW DELHI: Reflecting on the party’s disastrous performance in the Assembly elections, former Delhi Congress chief Subhash Chopra on Thursday said that ‘hate speeches’ made during the campaign phase polarised voters, especially Muslims, and resulted in them turning away from the party.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Chopra said, “The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) went after each other in the last 8-10 days of the election campaign, almost making it appear to the voting public that they were fighting for the majority community. Both parties made every possible attempt to polarise the campaign. And, the hate speeches (by BJP leaders) prompted the Muslims to go with AAP. They voted en-bloc for the AAP.”
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Tellingly, the AAP won all the five constituencies where Muslims, in terms of their demographic strength, were in a position to sway election results. On allegations that the Congress candidates went into campaign in a half-hearted manner and didn’t reach out to voters as they should have, Chopra said the party nominees couldn’t be faulted for want of effort. However, he did concede that canvassing could have started a bit earlier than it did.
“All our candidates fought tooth and nail. The only thing that may cost us is that we hit campaign a bit late. Also, our star campaigners (Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra) arrived very late, just three or four days before the elections, which eventually did us in,” Chopra said.
In a repeat of the 2015 washout, the Congress failed to open its account in the Assembly polls. The party’s overall vote share also dropped precipitously from 9 per cent (in 2015) to just about 4 per cent. Taking moral responsibility for the defeat, Chopra stepped down on Tuesday. Suggesting that the high command hand over the baton to a young leader, Chopra said the party needs to put in a lot of effort on the ground over the next 2-3 years to be back in the reckoning.
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“I will be happy to guide whoever the party decides to hand its Delhi reins to. I believe, the baton should be passed onto to a young leader,” he said.
Speaking on his resignation, Chopra said, “I’m not someone who sticks to a post. I didn’t want the party to suffer by holding onto my position. I am a Congress loyalist. For me, the party is supreme and I will continue to serve it till my dying breath.”
Condemning the statement by party senior PC Chacko, seeking to lay the blame for the party’s loss to late former CM Sheila Dikshit, Chopra said she couldn’t be held responsible for the party’s plummeting graph in the national capital.
“Any attempt to blame her for the defeat can’t be tolerated. She was a successful politician and a skilled administrator who worked sincerely for the all-round development of Delhi,” he said. Many senior leaders have called for serious introspection in the ranks in the wake of the party’s washout in the Assembly elections.