A prominent Poorvanchali face of the Congress in Delhi, Mahabal Mishra was a three-time MLA before he was elected to Parliament in 2009 from West Delhi. Excerpts from an interview:
There was a lot of opposition to your candidature within the party. How are you dealing with it?
I don’t agree. These are all rumours. I enjoy full support of my party workers. Each Congress worker is working hard to get good results. I am confident of winning again and it will only be possible due to a good coordination among the party workers.
The party announced your candidature very late. Do you think the delay will affect your campaign?
No, not at all. I live in the West Delhi constituency while candidates of the other parties are outsiders. They first need to introduce themselves to voters while I have spent all these years among them. They recognise the work that I have done in my constituency. I am confident that the people of West Delhi will support me again. In fact, when the party was deciding candidates, my supporters were offering prayers for my candidature.
You got tickets for your family members in 2012 municipal elections and 2013 assembly elections. Most of them lost. Is it a reflection on your reducing popularity?
In 2012 municipal elections my brother’s wife, Bimla Devi, won by a margin of 5,000 votes. My son Vinay is an elected vice-president of Delhi Pradesh Youth Congress. He has been working in Dwarka assembly segment for the past seven years. But the party gave him ticket from Palam assembly constituency. Also, some parties made false promises and sold false dreams to people, which diverted support from the Congress. In the resultant anti-Congress wave, my son lost the election. But the AAP bubble has busted now and people are coming back to Congress’ fold. You will see it in the results of the general elections.
The three major parties have fielded candidates representing the three vote banks. How do you see this contest?
I don’t support regionalism or caste. I am going to people on the basis of the work and development in the area. This is against my party’s policy to favour a particular caste, religion or community. Yes, I belong to Bihar but I have cordial relations with each section of society, which has helped me in winning five elections from West Delhi. I am a ‘Sarvanchali’ (everybody’s leader) before being a Poorvanchali.