The Congress will win all seven Lok Sabha seats of Delhi on its own, says state Congress chief Sheila Dikshit. In an interview with Preetha Nair, the former (three-time) CM dismisses talk of any truck with the AAP. Excerpts:
There’s suspense over the Congress's proposed alliance with Aam Admi Party (AAP). You met Sonia and Rahul Gandhi this week. Can we expect a last-minute patch-up?
There will be no alliance and that’s final. There were some talks, but we never accepted it. AAP never approached us, at least certainly not me. I don’t know how the talk of an alliance came about. My meeting with Sonia Gandhi wasn’t about that.
Are you implying an alliance was possible if AAP approached you?
I wouldn’t have kicked them out anyway. I don’t know how it would have turned out…depends on the terms. But fact is, no one spoke to me.
AAP was certainly eager… What’s stopping the Congress? Is it because AAP rose to power at your cost?
Not at all. That happens in a democracy…. Mr Kejriwal is misleading all of you. He hasn’t said a word to me. We are not looking for an alliance. His is a small party, confined to Delhi. Right now, his demand is to change the Constitution. That’s Parliament’s job. Who is he trying to misguide?
The BJP is riding high after Balakot. How will you counter that?
What has the BJP done differently? National security is a round-the-clock job. They are not the first ones to do it. It’s just that the Congress hasn’t made any song and dance about it. Our manifesto and candidate list will come out soon. We are confident the Congress will win all seven seats in Delhi.
The BJP is ahead in terms of alliances....
People are not going to vote for them just because they have tied up with some parties. What has the BJP done in these years? Inflation is up and there are no jobs. This is what concerns people. Has education become better? They’ve only done what’s already been done by Congress governments.
A section in the Congress was said to be pro-alliance. Don’t you think the spat is a setback to Opposition unity?
I am not aware of any (pro-alliance) leaders. All parties in an alliance should respect each other. Alliances are not easy....
How do you see the Delhi-Centre tussle?
The government of the day has to go by the Constitution. If the rule says police is not under Delhi, then it’s not. We also wanted full statehood for Delhi, but never succeeded. Till that happens, you have to go by the rules.
You were CM for 15 years. How was your relationship with the Centre?
We brought in the Metro during Vajpayee’s rule. State and Centre have to work in tandem for the sake of the country.