For the 71-year-old grandmother and chief minister of Delhi, a relaxed Sunday means meeting jubilant supporters, the odd minister and relatives, with a Congress Working Committee meeting thrown in.
Sheila Dikshit takes time out to share her thoughts on the Congress’s success.
What worked for Congress in Delhi?
Development worked. And clean governance. Voters saw the development around them — you don’t have to tell them something they can see. They also felt the need to continue for the third time with the same government to allow uninterrupted growth. Having a government at the Centre with similar thinking helps, of course.
You have campaigned all over the country for Congress, are you looking at a national role — there was talk about you being one of the potential prime ministerial candidates.
I am not eyeing any role. I have a job to do. It’s just conjecture. We have to ensure the successful completion of Commonwealth Games. If the national leadership in its wisdom decides to give me some work, I will have to accept the responsibility.
Now that Congress is both at the Centre and in the state, what’s up next for Delhi?
In Delhi, our greatest priority will be getting ready to conduct the 2010 Commonwealth Games. A lot of base work is ready, but we really need to get down to it now. This is an especially inspiring moment. Commonwealth Games will leave a great legacy behind. Along with all the development, there are also the psychological changes of courtesy and discipline. Our projects of social inclusiveness like Laadli (social scheme that promises an amount of Rs 1 lakh to a girl child on finishing Class XII) and Aap ki Rasoi (open kitchens for poor) will continue. In fact, we plan to link Aap Ki Rasoi to Hunger-free India.
You are trying to take over MCD?
Yes, I sincerely believe so. They are totally unresponsive, they seem to be answerable to no one. I have written several letters to the Centre saying that Delhi is planned by the DDA, the elected government has no say. Similarly, MCD is not with us. There can be three different wings of the police – traffic management, law and order and VIP security. Policemen don’t need to shuttle from thana (police station) to traffic. Training will mean better traffic in Delhi. This does not happen anywhere other than Delhi. All state governments have municipalities under them. We are aware of the special status of Delhi — we are not saying give us security.
With fears of an economic slowdown, are you thinking of any schemes for ensuring employment in Delhi?
A. There is no fear of unemployment. There is so much construction that is on here —with that you need communications and other services. There are several projects that are still under way.