By Anand Singh and Prashant Sood
New Delhi, Inducted as Delhi Congress President ahead of the crucial Lok Sabha elections, Sheila Dikshit says her target is to win all the seven Lok Sabha seats in the national capital.
The 80-year-old leader, who assumed office as the Delhi Congress chief on Wednesday, said she will mobilise all workers and leaders for the party’s victory.
She said her target is “to get Congress active and get all Congressmen together.”
Asked about her target for the Lok Sabha elections, she said: “I hope to win all the seven. We will target all the seven and then see”.
Asked when the party will declare its candidates as the AAP has sounded its potential candidates and the BJP already has sitting MPs in all the seven seats, she hoped that the candidates will be decided soon. “Let’s see when the high command announces.”
Dikshit said she is not in favour of an alliance with the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the capital and prefers that the party go it alone.
However, at the same time she also does not rule out a tie up with the AAP.
“No, I am not in favour of it (alliance with AAP),” she told IANS.
“The Aam Aadmi Party is not a very polished party. For instance why did they do all that …Rajiv Gandhi having got the award (Bharat Ratna). What have they got to do with it. They never gave the award 22 years ago. Why did they pick it up? They just pick up things. I don’t think they think before what they are doing,” the three-time chief minister of Delhi said when she was asked about the reasons for not going for an alliance with the AAP.
“Anyway, for me, I mean they are the ruling party of Delhi so that relevance is there but otherwise they are an irrelevant party.”
Asked if the AAP was in touch with the party’s central leadership, she said: “No, not with us in anyway. I don’t think so.”
Pressed further on the issue, Dikshit said she had no idea. “Nobody has spoken about it.”
Asked if she had conveyed her viewpoint to the central leadership, Dikshit said she had given her views in the media.
“I have conveyed to all of you so everybody knows my viewpoint. It has been there for a long time.”
Asked if she was ruling out an alliance with the AAP, she said: At the moment there is no alliance with AAP, and let’s see what happens in future.”
To a follow up question on when the uncertainty will end, she smiled and refused to comment.
She rejected apprehensions that the Congress and the AAP fighting separately will give an advantage to the BJP in Delhi.
“Why, why, why…No. We are strong enough ourselves, please remember. We are older than the BJP and much older than the AAP. No thank you…No, there is no need (to align).”
To a query whether she had given her feedback to the party, Dikshit said, “Not yet,” and added that she will be doing so as soon as she was asked by the leadership.
Asked if potential candidates have been sounded out, she said “everybody is working, everybody has got their mind on it and we have to meet and bring (it) to each other’s attention.”
Asked about her being made PCC chief only three months before the polls and if it should have been done earlier, Dikshit said: “What has happened has happened. You make the best of what has happened.”
She said the party not having declared its candidates so far does not matter. “The God made the whole world in seven days and surely we can do this (declare candidates).”
However, she refused to spell out her party’s strategy. “I won’t tell you just now. I will bring the strategy which is implementable. So let me just study it.”
She said the workers were motivated and the ground work was visible for the last-three four days.
Asked who was the main challenger between the AAP and the BJP in Delhi, she said they both were a challenge.
“I think at the national level, if you are looking at their presence, then the BJP is.”
Asked if Rahul Gandhi was relying on the old guard having appointed Kamal Nath chief minister in Madhya Pradesh, Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan and Bhupesh Baghel in Chhattisgarh, Dikshit did not give a direct answer.
“I wouldn’t say. This is a question you need to ask Rahulji. I don’t make assessments on appointments, they have been made, they have been made.”
Dikshit admitted that there was some factionalism in the Delhi unit and said it will be addressed.
“There is… wherever there are 20…there are hundreds of people in the Congress, there is bound to be a faction. It is not something that cannot be overcome for a particular cause,” she said.
“The challenge is to face the forthcoming elections to the Lok Sabha and the challenge that is consistent with that is to keep the party together. All of us not to show our differences of opinion if we have any. Carry on what the leaders (say) so that we are seen as a joint organisation working for the good of the Congress,” she said.
Dikshit said she will campaign for the Congress in Uttar Pradesh if asked to, “but I will focus more on Delhi as there is a lot of work here.”
Asked about the dim possibility of a grand alliance shaping up in Delhi, she said: “You all bring a time limit saying do it now or tomorrow. In politics there is no time limit. It depends on the opportunities and atmosphere that is there and then we take decisions.”
She said that both national and local issues will be highlighted in Delhi during the campaign.
Dikshit said the party will highlight the development work done during her 15 years as chief minister. “Obviously, those works were done by Congress and we will surely highlight those works.”
On the recurrent confrontation between the AAP government in Delhi with the BJP-led central government, Dikshit said she had worked smoothly as Chief Minister with the Vajpayee government.
“It is for them to understand whether confrontation brings out work,” she said.