Terra firma: 15 years on, Sheila still stands her ground | india | Hindustan Times
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Terra firma: 15 years on, Sheila still stands her ground

india Updated: Sep 20, 2013 18:58 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Sheila Dikshit stands tall among the current crop of leaders in Delhi, reveals the Hindustan Times-C fore survey. Going by the expected vote share of the Congress (34%) as compared to the BJP (32%), the people are not very happy with the performance of the Congress, but they still prefer Dikshit (29%) over other leaders.

But what is surprising is the support for political greenhorn Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Of the 14,689 people interviewed, 22% saw Kejriwal as the most suitable CM candidate. BJP’s Vijay Goel had the support of 18% respondents while 5% preferred Vijender Gupta from the same party.

Experts attribute Dikshit’s success to the advertisement blitzkrieg on her government’s achievements despite her battling anti-incumbency and never-seen-before price rise.

“Sheila Dikshit is taking advantage of the work her government has done in the past 15 years. Her performance in five years should have been the actual benchmark, especially because it’s full of incomplete promises. There’s a slowdown of progress. Water and electricity are big issues; public transport is in mess and there are no opportunities for employment,” said Anand Kumar, a sociologist at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Many analysts also blame it on a weak opposition. The Opposition has failed to cash in on issues such as back-breaking inflation, power tariff going through the roof and a poor law and order situation.

The survey reveals that 34% respondents think the Congress is better than the BJP and AAP and 32% feel it can handle food and electricity prices better.

“Not only is the BJP leader-less, it also doesn’t have any agenda. The survey shows that the campaigns of the BJP and AAP have had little effect on Delhiites,” said Manisha Priyam, an ICSSR fellow, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library.

While AAP has promised to improve the overall governance, only 24% think it will make a difference if at all it comes to power. This, when the AAP has been crusading for clean governance left, right and centre and the Sheila government has been indicted for corruption during the Commonwealth Games and the Lokayukta has reprimanded her and her cabinet colleagues in various cases of misuse of government funds.

The survey revealed that 30% respondents still felt that the Congress can provide the cleanest governance in Delhi while 41% said Dikshit had been a good leader and that they would like to see her as chief minister again.

“Voters are not fools. They sit back and think who is most equipped to protect their interests. They carefully weigh what are the choices available to them and then cast their vote,” Priyam said.