The Commonwealth Games 2010 are just three months away, and hectic preparations are underway to ensure the Games are a success. Zeenews.com’s Swati Chaturvedi caught up with the Games’ commander-in-chief, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Kahiye Janab to find out how confident she is about hosting the mega sporting event.
Here are the excerpts:
Swati: CM Sheila Dikshit, welcome to Kahiye Janab. Let me ask, are you eyeing the President’s seat?
Sheila Dikshit: May be that is what people are thinking. I am already into my third term as the chief minister of Delhi and I know not much scope will be left for me after the Commonwealth Games. Anything may happen in life. But right now, I am focused on the Games. I don’t know what will happen after that.
Swati: Many people call you an ‘accidental leader’…..
Sheila Dikshit: (Smiles) Yes. I never thought that it would happen. Since my childhood days I wanted to become a painter or a writer. I think it’s by God’s grace that I’m a politician. We did really well in the 1998 elections; we outsmarted the BJP thrice. In fact, in the last Lok Sabha Elections we stunned all our critics by winning seven seats. I guess the people of Delhi love me and vice versa. It’s a nice relationship which we share.
Swati: Now, you and Sonia Gandhi share a very good relationship. What is the chemistry?
Sheila Dikshit: Trust me, Soniaji is an incredible person. She knows her well-wishers very well. She is our leader and spreads her goodness like an umbrella above us. I know her for years and respect her. Whenever I take any big step regarding policy or anything for that matter, I discuss it with her thoroughly and take her advice. She also listens with great interest.
Swati: Delhi will be hosting the Commonwealth Games in a few months’ time. Is Madame Dikshit getting her good night’s sleep?
Sheila Dikshit: Yes. We all know that the Commonwealth Games is a gala event. We have our share of responsibility. Our city hosted Asian Games back in 1982. So, after a gap of 20 odd years Delhi is all set to host another mega sporting event. We all are very excited, but a bit nervous as well. Quite a lot of work needs to be done before the Games start. May be once Commonwealth Games end, we will sleep peacefully.
Swati: Delhiites are saying the Commonwealth Games have wrecked the city.
Sheila Dikshit: We are improving roads, pavements. The entire city will get a new look before the Games. It will change the fortunes of the people in Delhi. Yes, there are problems now, but I am sure, the face of Delhi will change with the start of the Commonwealth Games.
Swati: Are you happy with the preparations? Do you think that Delhi is fit to host Commonwealth Games?
Sheila Dikshit: On the whole, I am, but still miles to go before we take rest. Now I have to look into the projects which are getting delayed. It’s a big challenge for us. We are hopeful that we will be able to meet deadlines. Bulk of the work has been completed and only few fragments are left. But one thing is for sure, time will speak for itself. After the Games, either it will be a kiss from the public or a kick. We are ready for both.
Swati: Well, you are one of the most successful Indian politicians. You love people and they love you as well. As the poor Indians are struggling with high food prices, the Agriculture Minister seems to be giving more importance to cricket. What is your take on that?
Sheila Dikshit: Here people are talking about price rise… but they carry a heavy wallet filled with money as well. Times have changed. Indians are earning much more than they used to before. And talking about Sharadji, we all know his love for the game of cricket.
Swati: Your son is a member of Lok Sabha. How do you see his political growth?
Sheila Dikshit: Well, he wanted to be in politics and serve the people. I didn’t stop him. It was my duty to make him cross the first hurdle, which I did. But I have never walked an extra mile for him. He triumphed twice in elections on his own merit. I am happy for him. I am hopeful that he will do wonders in his political career and I wish him all the luck.
Swati: One last question, which was the last film you watched?
Sheila Dikshit: ‘Well done Abba’…. I enjoyed the movie thoroughly. I think it’s a movie which is very well made. Very entertaining! Among actors, I like Shahid Kapoor a lot. He is sweet and smart at the same time.
Swati: Any crushes?
Sheila Dikshit: I have passed the age when I would fall for reel heroes. Yes, there was a time when I had a big crush on Gregory Peck. I watched his movies over and over again. Among the India stars I liked Dev Anand and Dilip Kumar.
Adaptation: Arani Basu