When Assembly elections were announced in Delhi for the second time in as many years, former union minister Ajay Maken was given the unenviable task of reviving the Congress party in Delhi. With campaigning drawing to a close on Thursday, Maken hoped that he has done enough to convince people “to have faith in the Congress”.
Preparations for the last day of campaigning began well before Thursday dawned. Two road shows for the day were planned on Wednesday night and permissions were obtained after midnight. Early on Thursday, Maken’s team relayed the message — “Rahul Gandhi will attend a roadshow at Sultanpur Majra and Okhla”.
The road show at Okhla was later cancelled due to lack of time. Maken who was to accompany Rahul to Sultanpur Majra couldn’t make it.
Around 11 am, Maken joined Sharmishtha Mukherjee, Pranab Mukherjee’s daughter and the candidate from Greater Kailash for a padyatra in Chirag Dilli. He left around 11.30 am for his office in Central Delhi. “By the time, it was already too late to join Rahul’s roadshow. On the last day, the focus is on consolidating and speaking to workers so that they know what their individual duties are,” he said.
By 12 pm, a number of people were waiting to speak to Maken at his office. Apart from Congress workers from his constituency, mediapersons kept streaming into his office throughout the afternoon.
“The Congress will win and form the government. The feedback I have received is very different from what election surveys are claiming. The AAP had come to us before the elections to help them form government, but we’ll neither give them support nor take support from them. They are no different from the BJP,” Maken said.
Maken left his office to go back to his constituency a little after 4 pm. Minutes before he left, one of his aides hurriedly called up workers at Gulabi Bagh in Shastri Nagar and said, “Hum aa rahe hai, 15 minute mein pahuch jayenge. Theek hai?”. But Maken’s white Range Rover reached only half an hour later.
“The time for campaigning is over, right now I want to speak to workers. I want to get the picture of what all of this campaigning has culminated in,” he said.