‘It will be a repeat of Haryana’: Delhi Congress chief Subhash Chopra
Delhi Congress chief Subhash Chopra feels the February 8 assembly polls would be a comeback election for the party in Delhi. The former Delhi MLA and minister says that with an inclusive list and a positive campaign, the Congress will put up a strong fight and win a sizeable number of seats.
Chopra says much has changed since the 2015 polls, when the party failed to win a single seat. He feels the Congress will spring a surprise like it did in the Haryana assembly polls held last year. HT caught up with the veteran Delhi politician on his morning walk. Excerpts from an interview.
How important is this election for the Congress?
We could not win a single seat in 2015. This time the situation is different. The perception has changed. Now, people have started realising, and even the media is saying, that there is going to be a strong contest in many areas. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had put forth tall claims of making the system corruption-free, bringing the Jan Lokpal Bill, so people showered their love and affection on (Arvind) Kejriwal. The facade has faded now and the voters have seen that the promises were hollow.
Do you think the Congress can spring a surprise this time?
This time the results will be different from 2015. Look at what happened in Haryana. We (Congress) were being given only three seats by an exit poll, that too one day before the polling, but we managed 31 seats. Delhi will be a repeat of Haryana. I don’t care much about exit polls and I am confident the people of Delhi will vote for us.
What were your preferences while selecting candidates?
If you look at our (candidate) list we have a lot of women, youngsters and five Sikhs. There is no community that has not been given representation. Neither the BJP nor AAP has such an inclusive line-up. We have not used any formula but each candidate was analysed on the parameter of winnability.
You have tied up with the RJD on four seats. What prompted this decision?
The idea is to show our respect for the Purvanchalis. People from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh come to Delhi and give their sweat and blood to earn a livelihood here.
This alliance was to reach out to these voters and show them our gratitude. Otherwise, we also have leaders from Purvanchal but this was a message of acceptance and in line with our national alliance with the RJD.
The Congress came all out to support the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. Do you think this stand will swing votes in your favour, at least in some areas?
The biggest surprise is that the person who has been sitting on the chief minister’s seat for the last five years, who launches protests for the smallest things, said nothing when the children of Jamia (Jamia Milia Islamia University) and JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) were brutally beaten up by the police and goons from outside. They were attacked for exercising their rights.
Where was the CM? Why is he quiet till now? A person who cannot safeguard the interest of students, who does not care about the future of this country, how is he going to face them? On what ground is he going to face his voters? During the last elections, there were posters against (former Delhi CM) Sheila Dikshit calling her a “useless CM” and a “helpless CM”, when she said the police are under the central government. What are you doing now, Mr. Kejriwal? She (Dikshit) at least voiced her concern.