OTHERS

Sheila turns the tables on BJP

NEW DELHI, JUNE 16.

The Delhi Chief Minister, Ms. Sheila Dikshit, has not only been able to hijack the controversial issue of splitting of MCD from the Opposition but the one-day special session has put the Delhi Congress(I) much ahead of the BJP which is still licking its wounds. In fact, Ms. Dikshit's position has further strengthened as the party was able to put up a united stand on the issue.

The DPCC(I) chief, Mr. Subhash Chopra, too came out with flying colours in the whole controversy. The united face put up by the party inside and outside the Assembly snatched an opportunity from rivals to exploit the situation. He not only praised the efforts of the Chief Minister but also made it clear that the party was solidly behind the government. In fact, ``behind the scenes'' efforts ensured that there was no voice of dissent on this issue and the party spoke in one voice.

The critics of the one-day session have been left gasping as it has not only gone down well with elected representatives but also provided an opportunity to the Congress(I) to send a loud and clear message to the masses that it was for the establishment of efficient and effective civic set-up which was spread out and consisted of smaller bodies. The issue which was part of the BJP's manifesto in the 1997 MCD polls, has been suddenly taken over by the aggressive ruling party set-up.

Confusion and chaos has been the bane of Delhi unit BJP. While there is all-round anxiety over the outcome of the issue of MCD split, the party local unit president, Mr.Mange Ram Garg, has gone on a Sangarsh Yatra to highlight the failures of the Sheila Dikshit Government.

The Malhotra Committee report came in for a lot of hammering at the hands of a large number of speakers who termed BJP's internal report as an eye wash. The legitimacy of the Malhotra Committee report was also questioned by the Congress(I) MLAs and its submission to the Union Home Minister, Mr. L.K. Advani, has come in for strong criticism. What has been most surprising is that the report has been prepared by former Chief Secretary of Delhi, Mr. Omesh Saigal, who also shared the platform with BJP leaders at a recent Press conference. This has vindicated the stand of the ruling party that they were right in seeking the ouster of Mr. Saigal from the post last year.

At the same time, the Congress(I) has also been able to dispel the impression that it was not for holding of MCD polls on time, a charge levelled by the BJP consistently and also contained in the Malhotra Committee report. On its behalf, the BJP has not been able to come up with a credible explanation on how the Congress(I) can stall elections when it has no power to do so and everything is in the hands of the BJP-led Central Government. The Chief Minister has been able to turn the tables on the opposition which will now have a lot of explaining to do to the people of Delhi. The impression generated from yesterday's debate is that it was the BJP which was trying to get polls postponed as it was not in a position to retain power in the MCD.