Oscar Fernandes gave up his Cabinet berth to oversee the Lok Sabha elections in Delhi for the Congress at almost the last moment. No stranger to the city, he finds the party on an extremely strong footing here.
Delhi chose Congress for the third time in a row (in the Delhi Assembly elections), albeit with a narrow margin. Do you think the party will repeat its performance in the Lok Sabha polls?
If you say we were chosen in Delhi by a small margin, you have to look at this from the point of view of the Municipal poll results (2007).
The conditions then were adverse because of sealing and demolition — no fault of our own. But in the Assembly elections, the mandate was in our favour.
Last time, we got six seats in the parliamentary polls; this time, we will get all seven. To underline this, I would point to the DU Students’ Union polls where students from all over the country vote. The mandate was in our favour.
Do you think there is an element of disgruntlement among Sikh voters after the clean chit to Jagdish Tytler from CBI? Will this affect poll results?
Tytler-ji won last time. He has been in the fray since 1980, barring one or two occasions, and he has been winning. He has been helping Sikhs. Now, somebody has to tell us if there is something wrong. A judicial body or an investigative agency can do this. Sikhs have been with the Congress and they shall remain with the Congress. Last elections, the matter was under investigation. This time, the investigative agency has given him a clean chit.
You have taken charge of Delhi virtually at the last moment. What will be the Congress’s slogan in Delhi?
I have always been here. I oversaw the last three elections in Delhi other than the 2008 Assembly polls. Delhi is not new to me. Our slogan in Delhi will be ‘Jai Ho’. (Laughs) We will go to polls on the plank of our work. We have delivered on our promises — just look at our previous manifesto.
You are an organisation man, but the politics in Delhi is personality-centric…
In Delhi, we had won the Assembly elections without a chief ministerial candidate. Yes, a CM’s role is very important — but people vote for the Congress. There is something larger — the Congress party.
The Delhi government has performed the task given to it very well. Both the organisation and the government have done well.