Though a formal announcement regarding Walia’s candidature has not yet been made by the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC), the former minister said the party has asked her to contest from New Delhi, “and I have accepted the offer with open arms”.
Though Walia said she is unperturbed by the popularity of the AAP chief — who defeated former chief minister Sheila Dikshit by over 25,000 votes in the 2013 Assembly elections — she felt that the anti-incumbency factor is no longer at work against the Congress in Delhi.
“I have already started working and meeting people in my constituency. Several people have come to meet me and discuss their problems. The anti-incumbency factor worked against the Congress during the last Assembly elections. But not anymore. People are missing us, they want us back,” Walia told Newsline.
“I teach at the (Delhi) University and have been speaking to the youth, who are a very important part of the electorate. I have realised that most of the beneficiary schemes the Congress had launched earlier are no longer working. Old age pensions have not been disbursed in a long time and the elderly population is suffering. My first job will be to ensure that the beneficiaries get their pensions,” Walia said.
During the 2013 Assembly elections, Walia was defeated by AAP’s Somnath Bharti from the Malviya Nagar constituency, a seat she had won in the three consecutive elections — in 1999, 2003 and 2008. She was also the Minister for Health and Education in the Sheila Dikshit Cabinet.
“It doesn’t matter who is contesting against me. I believe in truth and have always been an honest person and politician. And people in my constituency know that.”