The Delhi chief minister talks about the Congress' performance in MCD elections. Excerpts:
Did you expect the drubbing that the Congress got in the municipal elections?
We didn't get the drubbing. We have performed better than the last time. In 2007, we had got 67 seats and this time we have won 78, eleven more. Thirty-nine women from our party got elected to the house. So we definitely have done better than the last time but not as good as we would
Why do you think people preferred the BJP to Congress this time?
I think we were not able to match the vicious campaign that the BJP leaders launched against our party. They called me a villain. They brought in national and state level issues like price rise, corruption and non-governance, which were not relevant to municipal polls. They called our government corrupt without ever able to establish any charges of corruption against our government. Price rise is not just a Delhi phenomenon. The entire country is facing that.
But the electorate seems to have agreed with the issues BJP raised.
I think we need to deeply analyse the results to find out what exactly went wrong. Whether there were too many dissidents who contested against the party's candidates or our campaign was weak. We will try and do better next time. We still have time for the assembly elections.
There are voices against you that are getting stronger within the party.
It is unfair. The elections were not my responsibility solely. I was not contesting these elections. If it was not the election for MP then it was not the elections for the chief minister either. It was the MCD elections and, as a Congress party worker, I worked for the party in this election the same way I worked in Uttarakhand, Punjab and other states in their assembly elections. I am not shying away from my responsibility. But it is unfair to blame me solely for the result.
The Congress was expected to put up its best performance in East Delhi but the results are the opposite.
We did as bad in east Delhi as in other parts of the city. There was a wave against the party in entire Delhi. People used to come and tell me that we were most comfortably placed in east Delhi. But I was always sceptical and nervous like anyone. You never know which way the mood of the public go.
People believe your government has not done as much development in northeast Delhi as in east Delhi and that's why the Congress lost.
The iconic Signature Bridge is coming up in northeast Delhi. And it was the BJP which had chosen east Delhi for constructing the Commonwealth Games Village. And I can only pity when the president of a national party like Gadkari comes and says that.
Do you think the result of MCD elections will impact the assembly elections too?
The assembly elections are in late 2013. In 2007, we lost the MCD elections badly but won the assembly election and parliamentary elections in subsequent years. We have to learn from the outcome of this result and work really hard.