Ilmiâ€™s resignation fuels Congâ€™s hope of a comeback in capital AAP leaders said Ilmiâ€™s concerns would be looked into once Kejriwal was out of jail. Despite Shazia Ilmiâ€™s resignation from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) over â€œlack of inner-party democracyâ€, AAP leaders not only still hope that she will return, but also expect to continue to be BJPâ€™s main challenger in the capital. However, the apparent weakening of the AAP after their weak performance in the Lok Sabha polls and the resignation of a prominent leader has fuelled Congress hopes of being able to wrest their traditional strongholds from the AAP and recover from the two humbling defeats in Delhi. A day after Ilmi walked out of the AAP, protesting the â€œlack of inner-party democracy and perpetuation of sensationalismâ€, AAP leaders believe that she will return to the party after chief Arvind Kejriwal is released from jail. Even as party spokespersons denied having approached Ilmi on Sunday, a senior AAP leader said, â€œI believe that Shazia will return to the party very soon. We are waiting for Arvind to return from jail. She had grievances against some steps that the party has taken and we are looking at those concerns.â€ In the wake of Ilmiâ€™s resignation and Kejriwalâ€™s arrest being seen as a move to grab headlines, the Congress believes that the support for the AAP chief in the capital is fading fast. Chief spokesperson of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) Mukesh Sharma said, â€œResignations of Shazia Ilmi and Gopinath has proved there was no internal democracy in the AAP. The party is being run by Kejriwal and his coterie due to which senior leaders are deserting him.â€ The AAP, however, feels encouraged by their increased vote share in the Lok Sabha elections in the capital. â€œThe vote share of the AAP has increased in the Lok Sabha elections despite aggressive campaigning by the BJP for Narendra Modi. Our fight against corruption continues and people have supported us because of this struggle,â€ AAP leader Manish Sisodia said. Moreover, the party believes that the political battle in Delhi will be a two-way contest â€” between the BJP and the AAP. â€œWe are preparing for a direct contest with the BJP. The last two elections have shown that it is going to be a direct contest between the BJP and the AAP. Many Congress leaders lost their deposit in the elections. The Congress needs to re-assess its position,â€ AAP spokesperson Nagendra Sharma said. Meanwhile, seven of the eight Congress MLAs, led by the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) president Arvinder Singh Lovely, met AICC general secretary and Delhi-in charge Shakeel Ahmed, on Friday, to take stock of the situation in the national capital ahead of the Assembly polls. Senior Congress leaders said Kejriwalâ€™s decision to go to jail in order to gain public sympathy was something that would no longer work with Delhi voters. â€œSuch theatrics and such drama wonâ€™t work repeatedly with the people of Delhi. Those who had voted for the AAP during the Lok Sabha polls instead of the Congress are already regretting it. They wonâ€™t do it again,â€ Lovely said. Meanwhile, senior Congress leaders admitted that their best chance was to become the prime opposition in Delhi â€” something that would hinge on their ability to regain key seats from the AAP. â€œThere is no question of aligning with the AAP. Weâ€™ve made it very clear that weâ€™ll oppose them. Their vote share might have increased, but we believe a large number of those who voted for the AAP will return to the Congress,â€ a leader said. The Congress is looking to target constituencies that were traditional bastions until AAP came into the picture. â€œIn these areas, weâ€™ll have to spend maximum energy. The party cadre will be there ensuring that the issues of the marginalised are addressed,â€ a leader said. Ilmiâ€™s resignation fuels Congâ€™s hope of a comeback in capital | The Indian Express | Page 99 **************************************************** The resignation of Ilmi has opened up some interesting narrative. Notwithstanding the drubbing the Congress has received at the hands of the BJP, both nationally and in Delhi, the resignation of Ilmi and Gopinath and their ExposÃ© on the ills within the AAP, to include crony clique, lack of inner party democracy, the penchant for theatrics and dharna raj etc has given hope to the Congress, at least in Delhi. AAP that postured to be a party of the common man with democratic ideals lies exposed to be a totalitarian organisation that is run by a clique, banking on theatrics to grab the eyeball. This obviously will not go down well with the literate and politically savvy amongst the Delhi population. This is what gives Congress the hope. However, would the dream of the Congress come to pass?