If I lose in Delhi elections, party will decide my fate: Sheila Dikshit

Last Updated: Sat, Nov 23, 2013 00:47 hrs

New Delhi: Perhaps for the first time, Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit publicly talked about the prospect of her losing in the December 4th Assembly polls.

“If we don't win — the prospect of which is less — I will continue to do what I am doing till the Lok Sabha 2014 elections. After that, the party will decide,” she said. The incumbent Congress government, in power since 1998, is seeking a fourth term in Delhi.

Apart from a recharged opposition, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), what has skewed the pitch this time is the entry of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which in Dikshit’s own words “touched an emotional chord with the public”. However, Dikshit was quick to aver AAP would  not have any impact on the polls. It was after the 2010 Commonwealth Games that the Delhi government’s image took a beating. Ever since, it has been under a corruption cloud. The rising rape cases in the capital, including the infamous bus rape incident in December last year, has not helped matters. Despite fighting a three-term anti-incumbency, Dikshit put up a brave face on Friday, asserting: “When I go to the people, I see pro-incumbency.” Although she refused to acknowledge she was confronted with a “tough fight” this time even in her own seat, the New Delhi constituency, where she has AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal and BJP’s Vijender Gupta as rival contenders, her usual confidence was missing.

The fact that she had been ticked off by the Lok Ayukta on more than one occasion also put the Delhi government on the backfoot.

Recalling how different has the poll campaign been this time, Dikshit said her victory in 1998 when she first contested was aided by the fact that people voted for change. At that time, BJP was in power. “Then in successive years, we put Delhi on the growth path and now, we are appealing to the voters to let continue Delhi’s growth,” said the chief minister.

Asked if she would be the undisputed chief ministerial choice if the Congress comes to power again, Dikshit quipped: “First we have to win.” She, then, added: “In the Congress, it is the MLAs who get together and decide.”

Admitting despite three terms at the helm, the government had not been able to solve the water shortage problem in the city unlike the power problem which had been “successfully solved”, Dikshit said the people of Delhi had seen what the Congress had done for the city in the past 15 years – Metro, Rs 1,500 pension, more schools, wider roads and flyovers.

Dikshit outrightly rejected the suggestion that Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi would be a decisive factor in the Delhi polls. “He is a Prime Ministerial candidate and these are Assembly polls.”

The fact that Dikshit has mellowed down was evident when she conceded that the half a million migrants in the city is a “situation” and not a “problem”. Perhaps, she now sees them as a potent vote bank.

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