The Congress released its manifesto for the Delhi assembly elections 2008 on Monday. While the election document listed the Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit-led government’s achievements in various fields, it failed to make any solid promises for the future.
One of the major changes in the manifesto was the dropping of the demand for full statehood. HT had reported on November 15 that the Congress government had rethought its demand for full statehood for the city — an election cry first floated by the BJP.
Dikshit said the government “has learnt from experience” that granting full statehood to a city like Delhi was impossible. “We understand there is a multiplicity of authorities in the city and have sought a special status, asking for control over MCD and land,” said Dikshit.
MP Jagdish Tytler, who is normally known for his Dikshit baiting, however, chose to support her on this count. “It is impossible to have two separate governments function in a national capital. This is not allowed anywhere in the world,” said Tytler.
AICC incharge for Delhi Assembly Election Pawan Bansal, Union Minister Kapil Sibbal, MPs Sajjan Kumar and Krishna Tirath were present at the release.
The manifesto 2008 starts with a plea to the voter: “Re-elect your government for another term. So that we can continue making Delhi better.”
“The manifesto leans too heavily on old or underway projects. The Barapullah drain and East-West Corridor are both ongoing projects. Projects like the Monorail and Light Rail Transit have been cited as future plans. There has been no development on these fronts since 2003. It has no vision for the future,” said a party source.
The manifesto does not even spare a line for the BJP. The 2003 manifesto had almost two pages devoted to the failures of the party. “It seems that those who prepare the Congress advertisements have made the manifesto. This is supposed to be a political statement, and there is no such thing happening here,” said a senior party leader.
The manifesto also skirts some crucial areas like the upcoming Commonwealth Games which finds mention only in a sentence. Developments related to transport have been touted as the government’s prime achievement, followed by provisional regularisation of 1,639 unauthorised colonies. “What does provisional regularisation mean? This has been on the agenda since 2003. Also, what about in-situ development of slums? DDA has already started the project, but this does not find a mention," said a source.
DPCC chairman Jai Prakash Aggarwal, however, said the Congress government wanted to regularise unauthorised colonies in 2003. “But due to Court cases this could not be possible," said Aggarwal.