File photo of Sheila Dikshit
File photo of Sheila Dikshit | Suraj Singh Bisht | ThePrint
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More than 20,000 new Covid-19 cases per day and counting. As Delhi struggles to stay afloat in the Covid tsunami, it is missing a doer leader, someone like its former chief minister Sheila Dikshit.

Between an Arvind Kejriwal clearly out of his depth and an Amit Shah more interested in fighting elections in West Bengal and elsewhere, Delhi is crumbling. For the suffering national capital, its longest-serving chief minister who envisioned and created the modern-day Delhi, and who had an informed grip over administration, would seem like a perfect rescuer.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is clearly struggling to keep things together, just like the way he did during the first Covid wave last year. Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who stepped in as the great rescuer then, has other priorities now — to conquer fresh territories and declare Prime Minister Narendra Modi and himself as the unbeatable rulers of India. Caught between lack of administrative depth and ruthless political ambitions are Delhi’s citizens bearing the brunt as the virus rages on.


Also read: Five things Arvind Kejriwal can learn from his predecessor Sheila Dikshit


No one to lead

Delhi has all but collapsed and there is nobody to lead the city-state out of this mess. The number of positive cases are going through the roof with the positivity rate nearing 30 per cent. There is acute shortage of oxygen, less than 100 ICU beds vacant in hospitals, and the situation is worsening every moment. CM Kejriwal is left appealing to the Centre for help.

The situation is not very different from last year. Kejriwal’s management of the pandemic exposed his limitations and lack of grip over governance.

“From fudging data related to coronavirus to trying to keep Delhi’s hospitals only for city residents, to wasting the lockdown period by not expanding the health infrastructure— Arvind Kejriwal has been doing everything that should not be done during a pandemic,” I had written in June last year.

Just when the national capital seemed to be drowning in its political leadership’s inability to get its act together, Amit Shah, who until then had been in the background, emerged as Delhi’s ‘super chief minister’, taking charge of the situation, visiting hospitals, ensuring availability of beds, focusing on ramping up testing and helping the city get back on its feet.

This year, however, has brought a bigger nightmare for Delhi. The numbers are far worse with daily cases almost three times last year’s peak, and the situation in hospitals is even more grim with severe oxygen and bed shortages. Add to it Arvind Kejriwal’s seeming helplessness and an absent Amit Shah.

Last year, Amit Shah made a smart political move by turning himself into Delhi’s messiah, and portraying Kejriwal as someone unable to lead effectively in a time of crisis. This was a loud message coming just months after Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had defeated the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the assembly election. This time, though, the home minister is busy with his politics elsewhere, and Delhi isn’t about to have any election anytime soon.

The Centre clearly needs to now take charge of Delhi’s Covid management. But Modi and Amit Shah have other priorities for now, and the national capital isn’t one of them.


Also read: The life and times of Sheila Dikshit, in her own words


Missing Sheila

At times like these, Delhi needs a dedicated leader who is capable and can take control of the situation. There is little doubt that Arvind Kejriwal is committed to Delhi, but he doesn’t tick the box of being in control of an unprecedented situation. Amit Shah might be able to effectively lead the way but hardly seems to show any dedication towards the national capital, or towards managing the Covid situation anywhere in the country for that matter.

Delhi, therefore, is missing Sheila Dikshit. Her political career may not have ended gloriously, but even her critics appreciate her administrative and governance capabilities.

She became the face of development in the city, the symbol of a changed Delhi that was defined by greener, cleaner air and revamped infrastructure. In the 15 years that she reigned, Delhi saw the construction of around 70 flyovers, and the very contentious switchover to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) by public buses and auto rickshaws. Sheila Dikshit was a leader with vision and the ability to implement that vision. She was full of intent and action, and had control over governance. Her love for Delhi and its people just added to that already effective cocktail.

Of course, there were fiascoes. The Commonwealth Games of 2010 being among the lowest points of her chief ministerial stint.

But at times as surreal and alarming as the one we face today, Delhi could do with a leader like Sheila Dikshit to reassure, take charge and steer its people out of this turbulence. For now, neither Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal nor Home Minister Amit Shah seem to make the cut, which is unfortunate for Delhi’s voters who overwhelmingly supported Kejriwal’s AAP in the assembly polls and Modi-Shah’s BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

Views are personal.

(Edited by Prashant Dixit)

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50 COMMENTS

  1. Pathetic journalism! Madam Ruhi Tewari is completely wrong. Building flyovers was sorely felt and Sheila Dixit was forced to build these and there was too much corruption in those projects. Also CNG was forced on the Delhi govt by Supreme Court, Sheila had no role in it. And the gifts Sheila Dixit is tanker mafia, power mafia, most corrupt commonwealth games organizing committee.
    The other big difference is, during Sheila ‘s time the central govts were cooperative (only one was of BJP, others were Congress govt). However this BJP govt under Modi and Shah is the most spiteful anti-Delhi govt. full of revenge and vengeance.

  2. How conveniently Kejriwal blames centre for everything . The new law ,which is being mentioned , of Kejriwal being reduced to a puppet of LG ,came recently . That is also not true entirely . However , let me ask those the same was not there last year too when Amit Shah stepped in ? When Delhi opened and cases reduced , Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia took the credit for it . How and why? Take the credit and blame others that has been their mantra always

  3. The author seems to be in a fools paradise. Sad to note why and how this noble venture by Shekar Gupta has also turned into a gutter news portal. what is the author trying to convey. It is easy to write fiction but being on the ground with your seats on fire and having to act is something different and a different ball game. It is because of such nonsense news items that I have drastically reduced reading/watching anything on this news portal.

  4. The article lacks multiple perspectives and is naively written, expected better from The Print.

  5. Mujhe ye samajh Nahi aaya ki phele jab logo Congress ke ghotalo se preshaan the tab Kisi ek magarmuch be ye Bola tha mujhe Delhi Ka Sashan de Kar dikhayo to me dikhata hu kaise sudharte hai or Sheela dikshit ko jail me daalta hi Bharshtachaar khatam Kar dunga police ko theek Kar dunga Anna ki Ka lokpal launga USKO logo be pyaar deya apna CM banaaya par hua kya phele to logo ko chorh ke bhaag Gaya ki PM ban jao Sheela ko jail bhejhna to due Congress ke gungaan gaane shru or sirf or sirf Modi ko dosh dena chalu ki Modi Nahi Karne de raha Bhai aisa tha to aap to ek matr pade like raajneta ho kya aap ko ptaa nahi tha ki Delhi me CM ke kya rights hote hai agar aisa hai to kyu Nahi Punjab ya Haryana se chunaav lade or vaha ke cm bane kyuki aapko ptaa tha ki desh ki janta ko murky banana Kitna aasaan hai Delhi me ban jao or hamesha center ko koste raho ki Karne Nahi deya or dikaave ke liye ek do churan ki Holi public ke mhu me de do taaki Sab use chuste rahe or Kuch Na bole saale mohalla clinic khole Jo ki Kisi kaam ke Nahi vaha ke doctors aise hai jinhe covid ke symptoms hi Nahi ptaa chale the or jhangir Puri me covid feil Gaya tha . Agar ptaa lagana hai savaasth me BJP be kitne AIMS khole hai uska ptaa lagao Wikipedia karo Google par ptaa lagega ki desh ki savaasth Deva kon sudhaar Raha hai Congress be 60 Saal me 1 Aiims deya Raebareli me baaki 20 Aiim Apne chote se samay me BJP ne to lose chinta hai Apne desh ki. Delhi me Delhi lockdown aisa lagaa hai ki Sab Bina ROK Tok ke ghum rahe hai koi mask me hai to koi mask me neeche Kar ke ghum Raha hai police pkde to haath me thelaa liya bol Diya Rajasthan Lene jaa Raha hu pakad lo jab logo ko apni hi parvaah Nahi to government kya karegi.

  6. Yes, like building 70 flyovers is same as handling pandemic. Ask European countries like Itlay with best health infrastructure in world failed miserable in handling this crisis. According to your view they may missed their leaders who rebuilt these countries after world war 2.

    • @vijay: Absolutely right!! This Chinese paid Indian media represents 99% of all BS said about BJP, Hindus & PM Modi!!

      How could China enslave so called democracies & powers like USA/Europe as well as media in west & India that they are all silent on fixing Chinese responsibility for the Wuhan Virus disaster??!! Data robbers & freedom manipulators like Google/youtube, FB, Twitter etc.. are silent!! No hash tag on how Chinese Virus is killing Indians, Europeans & Americans alike!!

      This headless secular media won’t even ask Kejrudin of PAAP or Sonia Antonio-NCP’s Pakistani Sena how many hospitals & oxygen manufacturing facilities were set up in the last 5 years!!

      Meanwhile, In British Khangress installed Hindu apartheid & genocide land, India, MUSLIM bodies such as WAQF BOARD can declare YOUR PRIVATE PROPERTY as theirs and you can’t even go to the courts!! They can also carry out Hindu genocide & riots at will & IF you raise your voice you are not secular enough!!

  7. I am amazed at how invested is the liberal media in Shri Arvind Kejriwal that it is not able to criticize him fully without passing on the critisism to others too. Health is a state natter. Why should Shri Amit Shah get involved here? Is Delhi’s health problem an issue for the country’s Home Minister?

  8. This is no true. Print media as well most of other media are just unnecessary favouring Modi Shah duo way too much. It’s not only Delhi, previous lockdown as well current covid situation, all the states are crumbling even if its BJP states and it’s all because center is not supporting or they dont have this type of knowledge ke mindset. Please stop accusing people other than this Duo.

  9. Kejriwal knows that he can get votes by giving freebies and he does that and wins election. Its not job of union home minister to hand hold CM, second time as was done last year. Kejriwal is good for protest, like Rahul Gandhi has zero administrative experience. working in a crisis is an entirely different ballgame. However, this is a good opportunity for Kejriwal to show his skills too as he wants to be the next PM

  10. You have very quietly ignored the fact that unlike Sheila Dixit, Kejriwal orders are mostly not passed straight away but through various obstacles put by center.

    You very sweetly ignored the fact that Sheila Dixit was CM, when Congress was in center.

    And congress in itself . Had it been in center now, it would not have indulged into so much hate game unlike BJP which is clearly mad for winning or toppling other remianing states by hook or crook.

    Clearly either you are paid heavily, or one of those blind followers.

    I can’t see my comment posted here for others to see?

  11. Both Modi & Amit Shah have exposed themselves. Their concern for people is only to win their votes. That they continued to campaign in Bengal inspite of massive surge of the deadly second wave of the pandemic, shows their hollowness.

  12. Center has to worry about whole country. Delhi has a CM and it is his job to focus and control covid. In fact, last time, Amit Shah had to hand hold him to control covid. of course, media does not want to criticize ONLY Kejriwal, so, it is blaming center too.

  13. Kejriwal kya dunge karwane shahinbaug khalistani andolan ko support karne ke liye hi CM bana hai masjid maulwiyo ko pension dene ke wakt to PM aur amit shah yad nahi ate nautankibaz hai CM nahi circus hai.

  14. How much print got to write this absolute rubbish article? Day dreaming about a person who never faced pandemic crisis through her reign. Never fought with central government in and out of courts for power sharing, dealt with a very favorable own party government in the center or a pure statesmanship government of a BJP PM with absolute respect from across opposition. It seems like a grandchild saying I miss my grandma who never had actually seen grandma in his life. Have you gone nuts to publish such a childish article? Print’s quality of journalism is in question. I know you may not publish this comment. You point at everyone. Let’s see you can take other’s too!

  15. Shiela Dixit had the advantage of leading during the Congress regime even at the Centre. And, earlier, during Vajpayee Ji’s regime. He was a benevolent PM and never sought to be vicious. The current CM’s hands are tied, and, with the latest amendments, he has been reduced to being a deputy to the LT Gov.

  16. Kejriwal is not allowed to work properly because of interference by bjp appointed people. Whether it be lg, officers or shah himself.

    Can you tell one state in the country which has done more development then delhi? Everyone know the scams that happened during Sheila’s tenure. Delhi developed during that time just because of funds allocated by centre for commonwealth games.

  17. Kejriwal has no power in his hands what he can do he his doing but center is
    Center is stopping him do good thing only because they want people to know that Kejriwal government can’t do anything but kejriwal doest his best for the people . center should give power to kejriwal to do anything than you see what he can do so it’s all fault of center not kejriwal .App is best party .

  18. You should take out some time and explain how? How Amit Shah did what you are claiming ? And How Kejriwal lack grip over governance? And now until the number of cases go down because of some miracle, how all the problems of oxygen, icu beds etc. can be solved. Just because Amit shah is in dispensary, it has become 1000 bed hospital within 15 minutes. Such a waste article, you had an opinion and you just post it and, making sense? You don’t care about making sense.

  19. I must confess that personnel views are not tangent to any Delhiite considering the grim situation today , 100% in agreement that Kejriwal is no match to all round performer शीला दीक्षित। but there is a catch here , same central and state government are best catalyst of administration and set priorities. Shiela Dixit did enjoy this catalyst for at least 12 years of her 15 year stint as Chief minister. I would also hold people greed of free power and water adding colour to current crisis. There is technically no reason not to prioritise urgency for states ruled by central government, it is a hard fact but don’t forget politicians are also human beings and carry grudge to person or population who set them aide during elections and their results..
    Long story short. If BJP was in power in Delhi , things would be better if not the best for the reasons mentioned above.
    I hold people responsible for this mess which is not going end soon.

  20. No facts or data or what exactly Sheila would have done which Arvind Kejriwal is unable to do.
    Amateur writing.

  21. What kind of article is this ? Shiela dixit was the epitope of corruption, let me refresh your memory about the power cuts and power hike every year. Lack of health infra. As a journalist that’s your job to remember not mine to remind you. All Sheila dixit di was to paint the roads and sidewalks through her son’s companies. Shiela was arrogant to the core. AK has changed the way politics is done in this country. Please do not write shit just because you can!

  22. Besides, what hurt here the most is the fact that we always delve in the past whereas we have much at stake – Global Warming, Climate Change, Health, Education, Water, Poverty. We have still not forgotten CW Games, system of commissions, system of touching politicians feet as they had become larger than life characters. Here is someone who makes me believe, like me you can also join politics and do something. Problems are there but to compare the present with the past just becuase one can write, is abhorring. I am not a big fan of Indian politics, but I strongly feel this is the best thing happened to the country after decades of communal, appeasing, cast-based politics. We should make it stronger and not in the interest of one column or a paper but in the interest of the nation.

  23. This is the problem with such writers (would not call journalist) as they just write servng one agenda after the other. They do not let any good leader take centre stage. Today we need more leaders like Mr. Kejriwal and lesser writer like her. Such disgusting writing filling up page. I wish he had come earlier. Disgusting piece of verbose

  24. Voters in the remaining phases will teach a lesson to Amit Shah and Modi. They cannot fool them.

    What a mess has been created. It will be difficult even for the mighty Modi/Shah duo to fix it this time. Fix….. they will, but at what cost and when???

    Indians need to be ready for a long haul this time, may be till Aug/Sep.

  25. Remarkable that the entire anguished column does not mention LG even once. Legatee of the President’s powers. All the more with the new law, Delhi in any case is under President’s rule. 2. For what it may be worth, Gujarat’s response to the pandemic is equally pathetic. 3. When US citizens end up in body bags, it does not matter whether they voted Republican or Democratic. President Biden set a target of 100 million jabs in the first 100 days, soon raised to 200 million. A calm, professional, totally non partisan approach to dealing with a once in a century health emergency. Should that not be an inspiration for India as well, next only to America now in severity.

  26. Who compares current leaders with the past that leader who is not present anymore. This article provides nothing to readers but nostalgic thinking. It could have been an article to highlight any upcoming leaders approach in current scenario. At least people can know their choices for future elections.
    The print has very large digital presence. Better articles are expected the least. If views are personal they can be posted on individuals Facebook or Twitter account

  27. You guys have opportunity to write and hence it should be used judiciously. To make people read you guys make headlines very sensationalise. But ones we read it gets disappointed. Pointing out infra developments of Dixit and than pointing out today’s pandemic issue is not at all a total solution. In that case centre government should appoint Nitin Gadkari to deal with pandemic. What different he would have done that you should have pointed out but not because it was not possible in current limited time for response. Besides, today the CM of Delhi as compared to old time have very limited scope of doing things. Also, AK administration of education and schools shows he is much better equipped than a infra changers. Please don’t try to speak half truth.

  28. 1. The author gives no evidence of Sheila Dixit having tackled a crisis of this magnitude.
    2. Using amorphous phrase like “out-of-depth” says nothing while claiming to say a lot more. Sheila ji couldn’t even come close to the detailed planning and execution demonstrated by this IITian CM. Take any press conference or media brief of Sheila Dixit.

  29. It might seem to be ruthless at this juncture, but it is to ensure India’s sovereignty at the right time. Opportunity missed now will lead to regret tomorrow after covid is gone

  30. Some things remain:

    1) Modi (as if any one has heard him, personally, since I have NOT) must make it clear to the Chinese and our Nation in the steps below adjusting as needed. These are just most obvious thoughts and nothing extraordinary but at least can the Indian Govt not start here first ?

    a). Call back our Ambassador
    b). Discharge Chinese Ambassador
    c). Gather on moral and rational ground Global community
    d). Move to different Supply Chain for intermediate
    Goods and provide incredible incentives for those
    Goods to be manufactured here
    e). Until then boycott all Chinese goods and stop
    absolute unnecessary commercial trades of:
    types of things sold in Chauvri bazzar, Kiriti
    Nagar, Chinese Fabrics. Like Gandhi,
    Make in India and until then we all sacrifice.
    f). Let All Future Border Consultations take place
    on Ad-hoc basis. Otherwise, all communication
    stops.
    g). Fortify our second line of defence and start
    forming a movement of artillery and
    Ammunition supply chain creating various
    Passes to reach to higher heights.
    h). Set up Mobile and Tent Hospitals
    I). We as a nation has to go on war footing until
    China goes back to April 2020 position.
    Modi MUST make a national declaration
    and in it inform China NO normalisation
    until boundary is resolved within 3 month
    time frame.
    J). Despite negotiations, we will give China a warning
    That India will of its own place, time and choosing
    will retaliate to take back its territory OR
    will take equal in sum. Choice is of China
    K). We will with Global Friends of India will
    look to impose sanctions with a collective
    Impact that in a rule based society unilateralism
    has No replace.
    For the moment this is my reply but:
    L). By the way has any one heard Modi loudly
    speaking how wide his chest is ?
    M). Nothing is more important than BHARAT MAA !
    No Modi, No Amit Shah, No Rahul Gandhi, etc.
    and if they all think they are so important then
    they like the soldiers should go to the frontline
    to service. It is the CALL of the Nation.

    • Mr Ravi Galav: Your patriotism and Bharat Maa histrionics is all well and good. But you forget that the vast majority of Indians want an American green card and wouldn’t be that keen on the Indian Army’s green combat uniforms.

      In any case I don’t think the Chinese are going to lose any sleep over your threats to them !

  31. No one is missing her.. We don’t have a reason to miss her.. We are trying to save ourself in this pandemic situation… Stop this nonsensical propoganda..

  32. You are kidding right?? Congress had the same party in centre as well as state of delhi hence you feel your so called *leadership* is missing. Centre not giving new land not providing enough salary to essential staff to numerous stages for simple decisions made by state govt ultimately slowing the growth of infrastructure. Please don’t tell me delhi progressed during shiela dixit, her son’s made millions through their meter business in electricity n water. Now that covid provides a misstep in a daily case load of 25k *official numbers* can be more don’t forget new york also couldn’t bear it when they had a case load of 6k a day. So please be well informed when you display your opinions

  33. Sheila Dixit could do all cause in the center they had her party in power., hence all requests for an early complition of jobs were complied with. This is not the case with kejriwal. he has to have co operation with center against which he is at odds all the time.

  34. Ashamed you are glorifying this corruption queen.
    Due partial journalism, India has suffered a lot in both congress n bjp friendly press.

  35. God forbid such nonsense from coming to pass. As horrible as Kejriwal is in his gimmicks, there is NO ONE in the Opposition who thinks the Lutyens Swamp creature Dixit and that gang of failures should be anywhere near the halls of power. If CWG was enough proof of her massive incompetence, the state of Delhi schools, hospitals and indeed municipal services was ample proof of her total failure…

    Instead of whinning and fear mongering , pandering to the weak minded and the hysterical, the media should work on sober analysis and providing a logical perspective in uncertainty.

    However, we can reliably count on the media to pursue the exact opposite and instead do what they do best by dedicating themselves to fear mongering, rumor mongering and trying to apportion blame to everyone except themselves.

  36. The print is congress version of godi media. If godi media partial then it learnt this from likes of you who are softer version of Arnav.
    You too along with godi media contributing heavily in India’s rank in global journalism index fall.

  37. Amit Shah helped Delhi last time as well, he’ll do it this time too. But this cannot be a norm where throughout the year you abuse central government and cry foul and support communal politics by providing shelter to germs like Amanatullah Khan and when the situation worsen you run to Amit Shah to save your behind.

  38. Arvind Kejriwal and Amit Shah are 2 sides of the same coin – both want to enjoy the feeling of being in power, lording over people, being seen in charge – they don’t really care for people of Delhi. (or elsewhere) Delhiites are now left to the mercies of God Rama. (as are rest of Indians) The voters get the leaders they elected, after all!

  39. None of the administrations in the history of Delhi have ever painted themselves in glory. The moves from one party to another only changed the beneficiaries. Till finally the administrations reduced itself to the status of DOMESTIC HELP.
    For last one week we are seeing the repeat of the CMs message at least 4 times in every hour on every channel. Do not know if the media is doing it pro-bono ?
    Total lock down suits the rulers, barring their own lives everyone else has to suffer. Declare the lock down and there is no more work to be done. While effectively implementing a micro containment zone successfully is hard work 24×7 with monitoring of results, ensuring isolation of the micro containment zones while the life goes on for the non-affected zones.
    The Commonwealth Games of 2010 less said the better.

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