Congress leader Milind Deora was admonished by his party and advised to "introspect" on his own role after his effusive praise for Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), followed by a wrangle on social media with colleague Ajay Maken. Without naming Milind Deora, the Congress drove home its sharp disapproval of his Twitter posts.
"Congress leaders outside the state need to reflect about their own role and what they have done... their performance, responsibility, in their state and in their own constituency," Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said on Monday.
Sources close to Mr Deora said he had no plans to quit as of now and rejected speculation that he was heading to AAP.
The former Mumbai Congress chief has made several recent comments that the Congress would classify as extremely wayward.
In his latest, Mr Deora posted an appreciation of the AAP government's performance after Arvind Kejriwal was sworn in for the third time on Sunday. "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," he tweeted.
Stung by the open admiration for a rival that had come to power on the back of a Congress rout, Delhi leader Ajay Maken reacted bitterly. "Brother, you want to leave INC India-Please do-Then propagate half baked facts!" - wrote the former Delhi Speaker and ex-Union Minister.
Brother,you want to leave @INCIndia-Please do-Then propagate half baked facts!— अजय माकन (@ajaymaken) February 16, 2020
However,let me share even lesser know facts-
1997-98-BE (Revenue) 4,073cr
2013-14-BE (Revenue) 37,459cr
During Congress Govt Grew at 14.87% CAGR
2015-16 BE 41,129
2019-20 BE 60,000
AAP Gov 9.90% CAGR
Then Mr Deora hit back. "Brother, I would never undermine Sheila Dikshit's stellar performance as Delhi CM. That's your specialty. But it's never too late to change! Instead of advocating an alliance with AAP, if only you had highlighted Sheila ji's achievements, Congress would have been in power today."
Last Tuesday, as the results hurtled towards another AAP victory and a duck for the Congress, Mr Deora had tweeted: "And the winner is... bijli, sadak & paani! Congratulations @ArvindKejriwal ji on being re-elected Delhi's Chief Minister. Best wishes & Godspeed".
Mr Deora was not alone; P Chidambaram also exulted in what he called the victory of AAP and the defeat of "bluff and bluster".
AAP won, bluff and bluster lost. The people of Delhi, who are from all parts of India, have defeated the polarising, divisive and dangerous agenda of the BJP— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) February 11, 2020
I salute the people of Delhi who have set an example to other states that will hold their elections in 2021 and 2022
Another group of Congress leaders openly criticized such views, pointing out that AAP's performance was at the cost of the Congress, which ruled Delhi for three straight terms under Sheila Dikshit till 2013.
Mr Deora had also criticized Congress's Delhi in-charge PC Chacko's comment appearing to pin the blame on Sheila Dikshit, who died last year. "Sheila Dikshit ji was a remarkable politician & administrator. During her tenure as Chief Minister, Delhi was transformed and Congress was stronger than ever. Unfortunate to see her being blamed after her death. She dedicated her life to INC India and the people of Delhi," Mr Deora had tweeted.