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Tuesday 18 February 2020

Sheila Dikshit: Manoj Tiwari, who? … Alliance with AAP would have left Congress with 2-4 seats

Former Delhi Chief Minister and Congress candidate from North-East Delhi Sheila Dikshit says she felt the Congress should not ally with the AAP, which is hardly present outside one city

New Delhi: The Congress has won elections in Delhi more times than it has faced defeat, says former chief minister Sheila Dikshit on Thursday, addressing a modest rally in the national capital. She refused to, of course, speculate on the number of seats the party would win from Delhi.

Dikshit said she would be satisfied only if the party romped home in all the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi, but a “clearer picture” on which party would leading in the city would emerge in the next 8 or 10 days.

The 81-year-old Dikshit, in a keen contest in the North-East Delhi seat against Delhi BJP chief and sitting MP Manoj Tiwari and AAP candidate Dilip Pandey, has been busy campaigning for the polls.

“I never rest during the daytime. I am contesting parliamentary elections after a long time but I am used to election campaigning. The most important thing is to reach out to the people,” Dikshit said in an interview with a news agency.

Dikshit, who opposed an alliance with the AAP, says, “The Congress is an old party. It has always fought on its own in Delhi and won (elections) more often than it lost. But that is the game of politics. So, I felt we should not ally with a party (AAP) which is confined to one area (Delhi).”

The former Delhi chief minister justified her stand saying, “We are contesting in all seven seats. If an alliance had happened, we would have got 2-4 seats only.”

Dikshit successfully led the Congress in 1998, 2003 and 2008 Assembly elections, but the party suffered a rout in the 2013 elections under her. The Congress could not win even one seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha and the 2015 Assembly elections.

Asked about her rival Tiwari, Dikshit said with an air about her, “I do not even know him.” She added, “There are candidates in the fray. There is one candidate from the BJP and one from the AAP. They are rivals, we are contesting against each other.”

Incidentally, a few days ago, Tiwari had welcomed Dikshit as a candidate, saying her entry had made the contest one of the most interesting election battles in the country.

Dikshit, who took over reins of Delhi Congress in January, said it was the party’s decision to field her in the Lok Sabha election. “It was not my personal choice at all. I was not seeking it. One day I was asked to contest (by the party) and here I am. There were two choices before me — Chandni Chowk and North-East Delhi seats. I chose North-East Delhi as I had contested my first election in Delhi from the area in 1998,” she said.

North-East Delhi was part of the East Delhi parliamentary constituency contested by Dikshit in the 1998 Lok Sabha election, years before the delimitation exercise. She was defeated by BJP’s Lal Bihari Tiwari.

Asked about her plans for North-East Delhi, she expressed sadness over the “poor condition of roads and sanitation” in the area. “It makes me sad as very essential things like roads and cleanliness are missing. Unless we do something about these, no city looks like one. Houses in the area are so haphazard, there is no planning,” she said.

“Nothing is done when houses and shops come up and then suddenly you say it’s illegal. That is very unfair. A city needs to be developed according to the needs of the people. If you do not do so, you ruin the people and their livelihood means,” Dikshit said.

For all reports related to the Lok Sabha election of 2019, please visit this page.

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