Dismissing that there was an anti-Congress wave in the country, Congress candidate from New Delhi Ajay Maken said if that was the case, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley would not be contesting from Amritsar and the BJP would not be getting “outsiders” like Manoj Tiwari to contest from Northeast Delhi.
“There is no anti-Congress wave. If that was the case, Arun Jaitley would not have decided to contest from Amritsar and Manoj Tiwari would not have been brought in to contest from Northeast Delhi,’’ Maken said, giving examples of other senior BJP leaders who had expressed unhappiness with the parliamentary constituencies they were asked to contest from.
Reiterating that there was no ‘Modi lehar’, Maken said the dismal performance of the Congress in the Assembly elections would not matter in the Lok Sabha elections. “People vote on different issues in Lok Sabha elections,’’ he said.
Speaking about the party strategy, Maken said the focus was not on attacking opponents but on doing a positive campaign. “The UPA government has been in the Centre for 10 years while there was a Congress government in power in Delhi for 15 years. There are a lot of things we achieved in these years and we’d rather concentrate on our work than speak of our competitors,’’ he said.
A tough fight is expected in New Delhi constituency from where Maken (Congress), Meenakshi Lekhi (BJP) and Ashish Khetan (AAP) are contesting. The maximum number of candidates (29) are contesting from here.
According to Maken, the constituency is a mix of posh areas, JJ clusters and government colonies. So far his own campaign has concentrated on his tenure as sports minister, minister of housing and urban poverty alleviation (HUPA) and minister of urban development.
“Our aim is to tell people about the progress made so far. Our vice-president Rahul Gandhi and his young team is the way forward and, the voters, especially the young voters, will understand this,’’ he said.
Maken’s was the only name which came up during the primary held in New Delhi. Maken, the current AICC general secretary and a close aide of Rahul Gandhi, had himself requested the party to include the New Delhi seat in the list of primaries as this would help grassroot workers to select a candidate of their choice.