Dissent and differences within Congress’s Delhi unit came out in the open a day after it drew a blank in the assembly elections, with party leaders blaming each other for the debacle.

The Congress failed to win a seat for the second consecutive time in the polls, the results of which were announced on Tuesday. Its vote share halved to 4.26%.

Cracking the whip on the party’s performance, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday evening accepted the resignation of Delhi incharge P. C. Chacko and state unit chief Subhash Chopra. Senior party leader Shakti Sinh Gohil has been given the interim charge.

“The party’s downfall started in 2013. The party lost in all subsequent elections and the new organization, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) took away the Congress vote bank," Chacko said. He, however, did not name former chief minister Sheila Dikshit of the Congress, who passed away last year.

The remarks were criticized by senior party leader Milind Deora and Dikshit’s former aide Pawan Khera. “Sheila Dikshitji was a remarkable politician and administrator. During her tenure as chief minister, Delhi was transformed and Congress was stronger than ever," Deora said on Twitter. It is unfortunate to see her getting blamed after her death, he added.

Chacko soon clarified on his statements and told Press Trust of India that he did not name Dikshit “who ensured good governance and all-round development of Delhi during the 15 years of Congress rule."

Former Union minister Shashi Tharoor said the results came with both disappointment and consolation for the Congress while former Union minister P. Chidambaram congratulated AAP for its victory.

Chidambaram’s remarks drew a sharp response from senior Congress leader Sharmishta Mukherjee, the daughter of former President Pranab Mukherjee, who questioned on Twitter whether her party had “outsourced the task of defeating BJP to state parties" and if that was the case Congress’ state units “might as well close shop".

The party’s central unit intervened to say the blame game should stop. “It would have been better if leaders of Congress party in Delhi or else where would have looked at and introspected upon their own role, responsibility and commitment to the party and defining their own duty towards the campaign in Delhi then things would have sorted themselves," Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters on Wednesday.

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