Congress implosion continues, now Ajay Maken and Milind Deora spar

Astha Saxena

Congress leaders Ajay Maken and Milind Deora were engaged in a war of words on Twitter.

Cracks within the Congress party widened after senior Congress leader Milind Deora praised the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government for doubling its revenue and maintaining a surplus over the last five years. Delhi Congress leaders were quick to counter Deora, with former Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken asking him to “leave the party” rather than putting out “half-baked facts”.

On Monday morning, Deora, the former Mumbai Congress chief, tweeted, “Sharing a lesser known and welcome fact the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government doubled its revenues to Rs 60,000 crore and maintained a revenue surplus over the last 5 years. Food for thought: Delhi is now one of India’s most fiscally prudent governments.”

The statement came days after the party failed to win a single seat in Delhi elections held on February 8. The party’s overall vote share came down to 4.26% from 9.65% in 2015 polls, and only three candidates managed to not lose their deposit.

Maken, who led the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee in 2018 and contested the Lok Sabha polls in 2019, responded: Brother, you want to leave @INCIndia, please do, then propagate half baked facts.” He said the “CAGR (compound annual growth rate) during Congress government grew at 14.87%, more than the 9.90% under AAP.”

Deora was quick to hit back: “Brother, I would never undermine Sheila Dikshit’s stellar performance as Delhi CM. That’s your specialty. Instead of advocating an alliance with AAP, if only you had highlighted Sheila ji’s achievements, @INCIndia would've been in power today.”

Alka Lamba, who lost from Chandni Chowk on a Congress ticket, also responded to Deora’s comment, saying that the Congress-ruled Karnataka had doubled its budget revenues from 2013 to 2018. Radhika Khera, who contested from Janakpuri and lost, tweeted: “As a young first-time contestant, I find this extremely disappointing from our senior leaders, who instead of encouraging our own party to do better are busy patting AAP’s back.”

The central Congress leadership also stepped in and asked leaders not to speak out of turn, questioning the AAP government’s governance claims.

“The contest in Delhi was between Kejriwal’s dangal-wali Delhi and Modi’s dangon-wali Delhi. It was the Congress led by Sheila Dikshit which had transformed Delhi. Since Delhi is the national capital, it is but natural that the tax collection will be some Rs 18,000-19,000 crore,” Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala told reporters. “So don’t say how much the revenue has increased. Reveal what has been done for people’s welfare.”

On the spat between leaders, he said: “We had (already) unequivocally told all the Delhi state leaders to introspect about their role and responsibilities. Let me go a step further today. Congress leaders in rest of India also commenting on issues outside their states need to look at their own performances, their own responsibilities and their own commitment to the party.”