The stream of visitors at newly appointed President of Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) Sheila Dikshit’s house has not ended since it was declared she will head the state unit again. The Indian Express speaks to her about the challenges, possible alliance with AAP and where opposition parties stand ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
With the new role assigned to you by the party president, how do you plan to go ahead, with just a few weeks left for the Lok Sabha polls?
Delhi is in a mess right now. There is a lot that needs to be done for the city. I am meeting people to understand their issues and what they need from us. A plan is being prepared and we will soon disclose it to everyone.
Which are the main areas where you believe the Aam Aadmi Party-government has failed in Delhi?
The AAP government has mostly spent (its time) on advertising their work rather than actually doing anything on the ground. My aim is to first identify those loopholes where they have failed. The gap between promises and results has to be filled. We will get deeper into this… Many who come to me say the AAP believes in exaggerating rather than doing.
There is a lot of speculation about Congress and AAP forming an alliance before the elections. What is your stand on it?
No, even if we receive a proposal from them, we will not go for a coalition.
The Congress did not win even a single seat in 2015. What, according to you, went wrong that year?
I think the kind of promises made by the opposition (AAP) attracted voters a lot. They were shown dreams which are impossible to fulfill. Giving free electricity and water is not feasible in a city like Delhi. We will examine how they are doing it and the loopholes behind it.
The present government and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal have been criticised for holding regular “dharnas”. You have been the CM of Delhi for 15 years. What is your view on this?
When you are elected, you should be concerned about the city. I don’t find them particularly concerned about Delhi. They are mostly seen promoting themselves.
At Wednesday’s event, AICC in-charge PC Chacko estimated that only 50 days are left for Lok Sabha polls. Do you think the party has enough time to reach out to its voters?
Everyday has 24 hours and we will utilise it in the best possible way. We are not here to sit. The entire party will work collectively to make the Congress win in the upcoming polls.
Will you be contesting for Lok Sabha polls?
And what about 2020?
I have not thought about it yet.
Who is the biggest competitor for you in Delhi — AAP or BJP?
The Congress is a very historic and old party. It has its culture and strength. No party for us is competition. They may have strengths and weaknesses, but we don’t look up to them for anything.
A study by the National Election Study 2014, that showed the voting pattern of different socio-economic categories in Delhi, established a realignment of caste groups. As per the study, upper-caste voters who had largely voted for the Congress in 2009 did not favour it in 2014, resulting in a dip of 38% points of Congress’s vote share among them. What is your strategy to address this?
Voters anywhere look at the amount of work done. They have voted for the Congress consecutively for three years. This is their perception. We will talk about the achievements of our party.