She had dismissed the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as a “monsoon pest” in the last Delhi Assembly elections. Changing that stance, former chief minister Sheila Dikshit now believes that the contest for the city will be three-cornered.
In December 2013, the Congress had not taken the political greenhorn seriously. AAP had gone on to put up a stellar show in the election results and even come to power, albeit briefly.
Dikshit, however, said that she was not inclined to return to active politics again and was not interested in contesting another election in the Capital.
The three-time chief minister, however, added that the elections were going to be unpredictable and the possibility of another hung assembly cannot be discounted.
“It is not going to be a direct fight between the Congress and the BJP this time. But the way AAP resigned after governing Delhi for 49 days will also have its impact on election results this time. I hope the people of Delhi vote for a strong and a stable government,” Dikshit said.
Dikshit had led Congress to a spectacular win in three consecutive assembly elections between 1998 and 2008 but her party routed in 2013 elections. This time, she said, she would rather let others to lead the party. “I have decided not to contest elections. I am personally not inclined to fight this time,” Dikshit said.
She, however, added that she will follow the party’s orders. “As a Congress worker, I will do what my party tells me to do. In case the party insists (that I contest), I will take the decision then. But so far nobody has spoken to me about it,” she added.
The speculation on Dikshit’s return to Delhi politics started the day she resigned as the Governor of Kerala in August this year and returned to Delhi. She is still considered one of the tallest and most popular Delhi leaders.
With re-elections to Delhi Assembly likely to take place in a month or two, Dikshit said the party needs to devise a strategy to ensure it does not meet the fate similar it did nearly a year ago. “Other parties make false promises and people get carried away. But I don’t think anything has improved in last 11 months. Rather, it has become worse. The power situation is bad and commodity prices have gone up. This time, we need to effectively showcase what we as government did in Delhi in past 15 years,” Dikshit said.
While Dikshit believes it is the party that people generally vote for, she said it was important that experienced leaders are fielded this time. “Winnability should be the main criterion when selecting the candidates,” she said.