New Delhi: What BJP government has been doing in last seven months is “frightening”, says former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit referring to the way it was adopting the ordinance route and the “communal atmosphere” in the country.
She also admitted that her party had during the last assembly election “underestimated” AAP, which had decimated Congress after a 15-year rule in the national capital.
Holding BJP responsible for the “communal atmosphere” in the country, the 76-year-old senior Congress leader said programmes such as “Ghar Wapsi’ and other activities of certain right-wing outfits have sparked tension among minorities which was “extremely worrying”.
“It may not be fair to say whether they have done good or bad. But some of the things they have done are frightening like taking the ordinance route. Then what is the need for Parliament. Have ‘acche din’ really come? Look at the communal atmosphere that has been created. It is frightening,” Dikshit told PTI in an interview.
Dikshit, who was Chief Minister of Delhi from 1998 to 2013, said the communal harmony in Delhi has also been affected after NDA came to power at the Centre. “Delhi witnessed riots after 16-17 years and we had a church being burnt.”
Admitting that Congress had underestimated AAP in the 2013 assembly polls, she said a “feeling of fatigue” could have also played a part in Congress’ electoral drubbing. The Congress had managed to win only eight seats in the 70-member Assembly.
“We underestimated Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party in the last elections,” she said claiming that Congress was better prepared this time to face the election.
The AAP had made a dream debut winning 28 seats in the polls over an year ago.
Dikshit, herself, had faced an ignominious defeat in New Delhi constituency by a huge margin of over 25,000 votes at the hands of Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal.
Asked about the controversy following her reported comments on possibility of Congress supporting AAP in case of a hung verdict, Dikshit said her party will never ever support “communal BJP” and she only stated a matter of fact what the party did after the last assembly elections.
“I never said Congress will support AAP. I only said party will not support a communal party which is BJP,” she said.
Questioning BJP’s move to project Modi as its face for the Delhi elections, Dikshit said he will not be the Chief Minister of the capital.
“BJP is projecting Modi much more than anything else. Modi is not going to be the Chief Minister of Delhi. People of Delhi know it,” she said.
On whether BJP would be in a better position to fight the polls compared to last assembly election with Modi at the helm of affairs at the Centre, Dikshit replied in the negative saying issues being faced by Delhi are totally different.
“I do not think so. Modi has made his mark. He has become Prime Minister. And that’s it. Delhi’s issues are very different,” she said.
Asked whether not having a Chief Ministerial candidate will affect Congress adversely, Dikshit said it will not impact the party’s prospects. “When we won the polls in Delhi 1998, we did not have a Chief Ministerial candidate,” she said.
Queried about her political future, Dikshit said she will follow directive of the party leadership and if she is asked to campaign for the party, she will do so.
“Whatever work I am given, I will do. After I came back from Kerala, I had told the leadership that I will not contest election. I had also requested not to include me in any committees,” Dikshit said, adding “If they ask me to campaign, definitely I will campaign.”
She did not give a specific reply when asked whether BJP or AAP was in a better position to win the majority in the assembly polls. “It is very difficult to say.”
She said development activities have suffered a lot in absence of an elected government in Delhi for the last one year.
She dismissed suggestions that Delhi will benefit if BJP comes to power as it will be easier to coordinate with the NDA regime.
“When we came to power in Delhi in 1998, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister. We started the metro project during the NDA rule,” she said.