Syed Ahmed Bukhari, Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, may have announced his support for the Congress, but the party candidate from Chandni Chowk Kapil Sibal said he did not divide his electorate on “religious lines”.
When comments were sought on UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s reported meeting with Bukhari, which was followed by his announcement of support, Sibal said, “I don’t know if she met him, but I don’t see my electorate in that manner. I work equally for all communities and seek votes from them on that basis. People from all communities are supporting me in the constituency.”
Asked why this election was different for the Congress Sibal said, “There are several complex issues this time. More than anti-incumbency, the issue is the constant negative campaigning by the BJP, which is trying to force people into believing what they say about us. Whatever Modi says is on the media 24×7 and nobody talks about the work we have done. It’s a very one-sided coverage… look at Delhi, we changed the face of Delhi, yet Shielaji lost. Besides that, the AAP was not there in the last elections.”
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Asked if the Congress had failed to communicate their work Sibal said, “If the media is enchanted about someone what can we do? Also communication is very difficult when you are in government, whichever party is in power. There are constant allegations, and we are always on the defensive. So this communication problem is intrinsic to running a government.”
Sibal, who has been campaigning in different areas of his constituency over the last three weeks, said sections of voters, which the Congress lost to the AAP, were “disenchanted” with the AAP now. “Certain sections in my constituency did vote for the AAP in the Assembly elections, but that was because Arvind Kejriwal sold them a dream which he failed to realise.
I won’t say all, but a large number of these people are disenchanted with the AAP and are returning to us,” Sibal said.
Commenting on the delay in the release of the BJP manifesto, Sibal said, “First of all it should be clarified, if its a Modi manifesto or a BJP manifesto, since Narendra Modi has hijacked the BJP.”
He added that contrary to allegations of him neglecting his constituency, he had worked on the redevelopment plan of the Jama Masjid area, solved various problems faced by the trading community, arranged a mobile hospital and resolved problems such as lack of availability of regular water in his constituency.
Sibal who penned his own slogans this time for his campaign, also wrote the lyrics of a campaign song,which was sung by Adnan Sami.