Three-time chief minister and newly appointed Delhi Congress president Sheila Dikshit Sunday said BJP’s plan to build its election campaign around Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the national capital will not work at all unlike 2014, as he has not done “anything” for the city in the last four-and-half years and people will vent their anger in the upcoming polls. She said that Congress was fast regaining its lost ground in the national capital, and ruled out any possibility of an electoral understanding with the AAP for the Lok Sabha polls, calling the party as “very unreliable”.
In an interview to PTI, she also said respect for party chief Rahul Gandhi among leaders and workers in the Congress increased significantly after the Congress’ electoral victories in politically crucial states of Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
“The Congress people now have a lot of respect for Rahul Gandhi. We found in him a leader who is responsive and is also taking by and large correct decisions. So we are very confident of performing well in the coming Lok Sabha election. Congress will do much better,” she said.
The 80-year old Congress veteran did not give a direct reply when asked whether the party will storm back to power but asserted that people of India will teach BJP a lesson for its wrongdoings.
“I will not be able to say at this point whether Congress will be able to come to power. Nobody expected us to win the three states in the recent assembly polls. Congress is a sober party. We understand politics. We do not want to show off. We are confident of a good show,” she said.
The Congress drew blank in 2014 Lok Sabha polls in Delhi while the BJP had won all the seven seats. The BJP had projected Modi as face of its campaign in Delhi in 2014 polls.
“The Modi factor will not work at all this time. He has not done a single thing for Delhi. People are waiting to vent their anger (against him). BJP is in a difficult situation,” Dikshit said.
In a stinging attack on the Modi government, she said it has piled up miseries of the common man through measures like demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax (GST) besides trying to “polarise society” in the name of religion.
Asked about AAP’s announcement on Friday that it will not have any tie up with the Congress in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab, Dikshit suggested that it was her party which took the call of going it alone in Delhi.
“I have said it many times. There was no question of alliance with AAP. I have had this feeling all along. I must say that when AAP is concerned, we do not have same kind of thinking. My experience with them is that they are unreliable,” she said.
On whether there is a possibility of a review of the decision, Dikshit, who was the chief minister of Delhi between 1998 and 2013, ruled out such a possibility. “I do not think so,” she said, adding, “We are aiming for all the seven seats.”
Asked whether Rahul Gandhi should be the natural choice for prime ministership if the proposed grand alliance of the opposition parties have the numbers after the polls, Dikshit evaded a direct reply.
“I would not like to comment on it. It has not happened as yet. Obviously, we as Congress workers would like to see Rahul Gandhi in that position,” she said.
On Sonia Gandhi’s role in the Congress, Dikshit said she will act as a “guiding light for all of us”.
About Congress’ prospect in seven parliamentary seats in Delhi, Dikshit said there has been a surge in the party’s support base due to poor governance by the Aam Aadmi Party and anti-people policies of the NDA dispensation.
“Our workers are totally pumped up. We are fast regaining our lost ground. Congress is on a path of resurgence. We are determined to ensure that we perform well in the upcoming elections,” she said.
When asked about factionalism in Delhi Congress, Dikshit said her priority was to bring all sections together and put up a spirited fight. “I have never seen so many people wanting to become Congress member. People are now wanting Congress to come back to power,” she said.