Sheila Dikshit was on Thursday put at the helm of Delhi Congress. The appointment of Dikshit at the age of 80 as president of Delhi Congress comes as a recognition of the development work done by her during her three terms as Chief Minister.
The appointment follows the resignation of Ajay Maken on health grounds on January 3. Dikshit has been allowed to have three working presidents in former minister and four time MLA from Ballimaran constituency, Haroon Yusuf, former MLA of Baljeet Nagar constituency Rajesh Lilothia and former MLA of Jehangirpuri constituency Devendra Singh Yadav.
Sheila Diskhit had represented Gole Market constituency of New Delhi thrice and was one of the most successful chief ministers of Delhi who is credited for changing the face of Delhi. She lost to current Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in 2013.
Dikshit, who was Minister of State in the Rajiv Gandhi ministry and looked after PMO affairs represented Kannauj parliamentary constituency. In 1998 she fought from East Delhi Parliamentary constituency and lost to BJP’s Lal Bihari Tiwari.
The same year she contested the assembly election from Gole Market and won to become the Chief Minister of Delhi. She succeeded Sushma Swaraj of BJP. The famous onion crisis led to the downfall of BJP government in Delhi in 1998 and paved the way for the rise of Sheila Dikshit in Delhi.
During her three terms, she became the face of development of Delhi but the rise of Kejriwal due to corruption against the Congress led to her downfall after 15 years in the saddle. After her loss she was appointed Governor of Kerala in 2013 but she resigned after Narendra Modi came to power in 2014. She was briefly given charge of Uttar Pradesh but quit for health reasons.
The choice of three working presidents, representing the minority community, Dalits and OBCs, reflect an attempt to regain support among the three dominant sections. Haroon Yusuf is a familiar and urbane Muslim face of Delhi, has been close to late HRD Minister Arjun Singh and has been with Dikshit for long. He proved himself to be an effective minister and has handled several important portfolios.
Rajesh Lilothia, a young Dalit face, was MLA from Baljeet Nagar reserved constituency. Close to Oscar Fernandes Rajesh is also considered close to Sheila Dikshit. Devender Singh Yadav, young OBC face, is considered close to both Sheila Dikshit and Ajay Maken.
The appointment of Dikshit comes amidst talks of alliance between Congress and AAP for the Lok Sabha elections. Former DPCC Chief Ajay Maken was against any such alliance but Dikshit is believed to be more flexible on the issue.