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‘I am not coming back. I was here’: Sheila Dikshit, Congress North East Delhi candidate

Former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit is the Congress candidate from North East Delhi Lok Sabha seat. The last time Dikshit fought from North East Delhi—which was part of East Delhi before the delimitation of the parliamentary constituencies—in 1998, she was defeated by BJP’s Lal Bihari Tiwari.

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 29, 2019 14:03 IST
Soumya Pillai
Soumya Pillai
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
lok sabha elections 2019,sheila dikshit,north east delhi LS seat
Delhi Congress chief and the party's Lok Sabha candidate for North East Delhi, Sheila Dikshit addresses during a public meeting, at Gokalpuri, in New Delhi, India, on Sunday, April 28, 2019. (Amal KS / HT Photo )

The longest serving chief minister of the national capital, the former governor of Kerala and the president of Delhi Congress, 81-year-old Sheila Dikshit is now back in electoral politics as the Congress candidate from North East Delhi and is ready to take on the new challenge that the party high command has given her.

The last time Dikshit fought from North East Delhi—which was part of East Delhi before the delimitation of the parliamentary constituencies—in 1998, she was defeated by BJP’s Lal Bihari Tiwari. This was also her entry into Delhi politics. The same year, however, she took over as Delhi CM for her first term.

On her first public meet before the Lok Sabha polls, Dikshit spoke to the Hindustan Times about her connection with the ‘trans-Yamuna’ area, her opponents and her party’s key poll plank.

How does it feel to come back to electoral politics after a gap of almost six years?

Where did I go? I am not coming back from anywhere. I was right here. Yes, maybe not as a candidate but I was always in touch with the party leaders, our workers and more importantly the people. It feels nice to watch how much love the people of Delhi still have for the Congress party. It shows how much the people have missed us, the Congress government.

There were talks of you initially contesting from East Delhi and then also from Chandni Chowk. How did North East Delhi come into the picture?

The place where you contest from does not matter. I have been the chief minister of Delhi for 15 years and I know every constituency and people of Delhi love us, our party. It was the party high command’s decision that I fight from northeast Delhi and I have followed their orders and the people here have welcomed me and the Congress party with open arms.

And like I have said before, I am not new to this side of the city. I have fought my first election from here. I have a sentimental connect with this part.

What will be the key issues that you will raise before the voters here?

While we will cater to local issues like roads, sewer, and schools, this is a national election. It is important to know that the voters will not only be electing their MP (Member of Parliament), they will also be electing their Prime Minister. People here can compare the work done by the BJP with what we have done. If you look around this area, you will see, the BJP hasn’t done anything in these 5 years. During our term we brought the Metro services to northeast Delhi, we began the plan for the Signature Bridge, the hospitals in this area were built by our government. Even this time, our manifesto caters to the needs of voters of the weaker economic class. It is an all inclusive manifesto.

The Congress took a lot of time to release its candidate list and subsequently begin campaigns. Was it because the party was relying too much on the alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to work? Now that the partnership is off, do you think the anti-BJP votes will split?

We were not relying on the alliance (with AAP). In fact, we are a national party and we are capable of fighting and winning elections on our own. The time that was taken was for short listing and deciding our candidates. And I would disagree that we have lost any time. We still have over two weeks to go for the polling day and people recognise all our candidates and their work.

There is no comparison. We are campaigning our way and let them (AAP and BJP) campaign their own way. Coming to the votes getting split, I don’t think that is the case. People have seen our work and they have seen the work that this government is doing, so they can take a call.

Who is your biggest competition, the AAP or the BJP?

We have no competition. We are confident of a win from all seats

Also Read | Lok Sabha elections 2019: A keen contest on cards in North East Delhi

First Published: Apr 29, 2019 14:02 IST

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