Former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit met Arvind Kejriwal, her successor and the current Chief Minister, on Wednesday, weeks after both their parties were soundly defeated in the general election by the BJP. The meeting comes eight months before Delhi votes in the state election next year. The formerly bitter rivals discussed power and water problems in Delhi at Mr Kejriwal's home, as per sources. Sheila Dikshit was accompanied by other state Congress leaders.
The meeting comes months after alliance talks between the two parties utterly failed despite numerous false starts, with the two parties chiefs - Arvind Kejriwal and Rahul Gandhi - bizarrely even taking to Twitter mid-negotiations to attack one another. Kejriwal took the cake in this regard, furiously tweeting that the Congress was helping the BJP on one of the multiple occasions that the alliance talks broke. What makes the meeting between Sheila Dikshit and Kejriwal even more surprising is the fact that on at least one occasion it was purported that Sheila Dikshit - the Congress Delhi chief - was the one who had put her foot down and was against the alliance. The BJP steamrolled both parties in Delhi's seven seats, winning all of them, just as it had done in 2014.
Dikshit had even attacked the Delhi government as recently as Saturday when she alleged that the AAP dispensation coaxed people living in rented accommodations to install separate power meters, following which the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission increased fixed charges benefitting the discoms.
Sheila Dikshit had said:
"Arvind Kejriwal Government enacted a drama of installing lakhs of meters to benefit the power companies. Electricity bills used to be nominal before. In the name of fixed charges, the Government collected crores of rupees and gave it to power discoms."
The Delhi Congress' working President Haroon Yusuf also accused the AAP government of "befooling people" and getting them install lakhs of power meters in JJ clusters, unauthorised colonies, and elsewhere.
Haroon Yusuf said:
"After the meters were installed, the fixed charge component of power tariff was raised causing a lot of trouble to the poor. This money is going to the discoms. Now, in the run-up to the (Assembly) elections, Kejriwal has been saying he will ask the regulator to roll back the hike in the fixed charge."
Earlier in May, commenting on Arvind Kejriwal's analysis of AAP's performance in the national capital, Congress leader Sheila Dikshit had said votes shifted towards Congress because of Delhi Chief Minister's bad record.
Sheila Dikshit's run as Delhi Chief Minister ended in 2013 when the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party won the state election. In the 2019 polls, Sheila Dikshit was defeated in the North East Delhi constituency by the BJP's Manoj Tiwari.