iconimg Friday, May 22, 2015

Saubhadra Chatterji , Hindustan Times
NEW DELHI, December 13, 2013
In his first interview after the election debacle, Congress state unit president JP Aggarwal has admitted that his party underestimated the strength of the Aam Aadmi Party. He has said he is ready to counter the charges against him levelled by Sheila Dikshit whenever he gets an opportunity. Excerpts.

Ousted Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has squarely blamed the party’s organisation for the poll debacle in Delhi. She said “the party was not active enough” during the campaign.

She is a senior leader of the party. She is like an elder sister to all Congress workers and supporters in Delhi. As and when my party high command gives me an opportunity, I will explain the reasons of our defeat in Delhi to them. I will also place my side of the story to my respected leaders, Soniaji and Rahulji.

Did Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party’s popularity result in your humiliating defeat?

Not at all. I want to ask you, can just one person or issue change 31% vote in an election? There were several factors. We need to analyse all of them. Everyone knows why we faced such a drubbing.

But AAP is clearly riding on a huge popularity wave.

I am sure this wave will not last long. People of Delhi will soon realise that whatever promises they have made in their manifesto, they will not be able to fulfil. But yes, I admit, that we underestimated the strength of AAP in this election. Well, we thought that they were greenhorns in electoral politics. They do not have any strong political background. We did not understand that people are so angry with us in Delhi.

Delhi is looking at the possibility of another assembly poll in a few months. Will you like to again project Dikshit as your chief ministerial candidate?

We hope to revive our fortune in the next election as people have seen that AAP has shied away from taking responsibility to fulfil its poll promises. As far as the CM candidate is concerned, I am not the competent authority. It depends on the Congress high command on what they think about a proper candidate keeping in mind the current political scenario and the election results.

Did you pick the right candidates?

If you see newspaper records, I have been quoted saying 14 sitting MLAs have become extremely unpopular and faces electoral danger. Their candidature should be reviewed. The results now show all of them have lost the election.