Sujay Mehdudia

Delhi Government blames UPA Government at the Centre for the mess

NEW DELHI: The sealing of commercial establishments in residential areas of the Capital in recent weeks under the directions of the Supreme Court has brought out into the open fissures in the ruling Congress but in the process the Delhi Government has also managed to wriggle out of a tricky situation by putting the blame for the mess at the doorstep of the United Progressive Alliance Government at the Centre.

Political observers here are of the view that though Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit may have managed to turn the tables on her rivals by ensuring that Congress MLAs target the Union Government, but things could change for her Government in the coming days. With the Capital already reeling under the impact of a major water and power crisis, the coming weeks could well witness protests by the elected representatives against their own Government on the two issues.

According to observers, what makes the situation tricky is Ms. Dikshit's remark that the relay hunger strike by former Delhi Minister Pervez Hashmi and former DPCC president Subhash Chopra was in the interest of the people of Delhi even if it meant taking on the Centre.

"This could just give a handle to Ms. Dikshit's rivals in the coming days. MLAs are speaking out against the poor power and water situation. And if they decide to launch an agitation on the issue they may not face disciplinary action as Ms. Dikshit has already termed the relay hunger strike in the interest of people," a senior Minister remarked.

Although Ms. Dikshit has managed to corner DPCC president Ram Babu Sharma for the present, things could change in future. Similarly, both Mr. Hashmi and Mr. Chopra might have been supported by pro-Sheila Dikshit MLAs on the sealing issue, but both are capable of charting out an independent course and could well turn the tables on the Chief Minister if any such important public issues come up in future.

The Delhi Government is already under pressure against power tariff increase this year and also to continue with 10 per cent subsidy beyond this July. Mr. Chopra has made it very clear that he would not be a party to any anti-people decision and would continue to raise issues concerning power and water in the interests of the consumers.

On the issue of sealing of commercial premises in residential areas, claims and counter-claims are being made by various groups about having received patronage from the party high command for carrying out this present campaign against the Union Government demanding promulgation of an Ordinance.

However, there has been no clear direction from the party leadership or high command on the issue and this has led to emergence of splinter groups within the Delhi Congress.

"Delhi does not seem to be a priority for the party leadership in view of the Assembly polls in five States. Some decision has to be taken on how the party and the Government should move on such important issues otherwise total anarchy will prevail and that would not augur well for the Congress party," a senior leader remarked.