After serving three consecutive terms as the Chief Minister of Delhi, Sheila Dikshit is all geared for the Assembly Elections due next year. The lady is certainly enjoying her political stint and is raring to serve the capital once again as the CM.
In a free-wheeling conversation with zeenews.com’s Swati Charturvedi on her show Kahiye Janab , Dikshit talks about the performance of Congress in UP, the party’s loss in the MCD elections and her future plans.
Here are some excerpts from the interview:
Swati: Congress succumbed severely in Uttar Pradesh this year. What analysis has your committee done? What was the assessment of the panel led by AK Antony and Sushil Kumar Shinde about Congress’s debacle in UP?
Sheila: Winning and losing is a part of democracy. Even Indira Gandhi had lost in her own constituency but three years later, the same people voted for her. No one can occupy the seat forever in democracy. We put our best foot forward to win the elections but if we don’t end up winning, that certainly does not mean the end of the world. As far as the Antony committee is concerned, yes there were confusions. However, there is never one single reason that contributes to the loss. A lot of analysis goes behind it. We intend to take the positive from the whole experience and learn from it. And that’s the idea behind it.
Swati: Rahul Gandhi was discussed enormously before the elections in UP held recently. He was the one who had earlier won 22 MPs for Congress. When people in Delhi vote for Congress, they know they will see Sheila Dikshit as the CM. Why wasn’t Rahul projected as the prospective CM of UP this time around? Why is Congress now shielding Rahul’s failure in helping the party win in UP?
Sheila: Look…I told you such things happen in democracy. You spoke about 22 MPs that Rahul had won earlier. Then the situation was so favourable. Elections are won not only because of one person’s contribution but because of the situation that is created. The last time when Congress had tasted success, the situation was pro-Congress. And I wouldn’t deny admitting that now there is a certain sense of anger among the people of the country because of price rise, scams…
Sheila: No I wouldn’t relate it to corruption because there is no party that is free of corruption. Tell me which party is free of corruption. Congress has a culture of teaming up with everyone but now there is a shift in thinking. There are some regional and state parties that stand aloof. If someone says Rahul is a loser, I would beg to deny, because, as you rightly said, he was the one who won us 22 MPs.
Swati: Yes…so when you praise Rahul for victory then why don’t you put the blame on him when Congress faces a defeat?
Sheila: No we aren’t denying he lost, but there are several factors that contributed to the loss. Whether you win a battle or lose it, several factors do contribute to the outcome. Yes of course, I do admit that our party is no longer functioning the way it should function ideally. But I whole-heartedly hope that there is no despair among the party members. Indira Gandhi had herself spilt the party during her times, yet the party survived. The fact is that we (Indians) tend to blow things out of proportion many times.
Swati: People in Delhi know for a fact that they would get to see you as the CM if they vote for Congress. Why was UP not given a prospective CM?
Sheila: Punjab had a representative. But we lost. The loss occurred due to changed circumstances. Even BJP had Uma Bharti as a possible candidate for the post of UP CM. But they lost.
Swati: She was an “imported” representative…
Sheila Whatever you say…but I believe it would be unfair to analyse politics on the basis of one single factor.
Swati: But you lost this time in MCD….
Sheila: No…I haven’t lost the MCD. There are three tiers of politics in Delhi- MCD elections, Assembly elections and Parliament and three ways of voting. Even last time Congress failed at the MCD yet I was chosen for the CM’s chair. So Congress’s loss at the MCD elections has no relevance to me.
Swati: You represent Delhi. But now many are seeing Congress’s debacle in the MCD elections as the “beginning of the end of the Sheila Dikshit empire”…
Sheila I don’t know whether to take your words as a compliment or a joke but I have no connection with the MCD.
Swati: Your future plans. You have already served thrice as the CM of Delhi.
Sheila: The current term will last until December 2013. So it would be too early to say anything about it. However, we are preparing for the elections, but it would not be possible to say if I would continue as the CM.
Swati: There is no retirement age for politicians in India. Are you satisfied with your tenure as the CM of the state?
Sheila: I am happy with my job. I enjoy working within the periphery of my work area and I feel nice to see Delhi becoming better with time. I am glad about the fact that my contribution (though it might be like a drop in an ocean) has helped Delhi grow. And if my health permits, I would love to serve the people of Delhi once again as I think it is my duty to take care of people who look up to me.
Swati: There were reports that suggested that you had made strong remarks about non-Delhiites in the city after a girl was raped. Do you feel the crime rate and rape cases have increased because of the influx of migrants?
Sheila: I had never passed such comments ever about the migrants. But yes, I do agree that rape and crime are on a rise.
Swati: You are referred to as the Bal Thackeray of Delhi. What is your take on that?
Sheila The Delhi Police have complained to us about the porous borders of the state that help the culprits in running away easily. That’s indeed my concern and I have no problems with people from different states coming to the capital as they contribute towards the development of the city.
Swati: What do you feel about the song ‘Sheila Ki Jawani’? Your detractors really must be wondering about your youthfulness as you have been in the Chief Minister’s office for long!
Sheila: As far as the song is concerned its pretty distasteful considering its music. But yes, as far as my detractors are concerned, I would serve the state as long as my people want me to and my health permits.
Transcribed by: Gayatri Sankar