Congress candidate from North Central constituency Priya Dutt claims she decided to return to active politics after she was asked by the party superiors and civil society. Speaking to Priyanka Navalkar, Dutt says it is important to understand the problems faced by the youth. Excerpts:
What made you reconsider your decision not to return to active politics?
There was a lot of pressure from the civil society, voters, party workers and my family members for me to return to politics. I realised there was a need to bring about a change and wanted to act on this opportunity. With the kind of support I have been getting, this platform will prove to be a boon for me to help the public.
What are the issues faced by people in your constituency, which you wish to address?
The size of a Lok Sabha constituency is big and along with it come plenty of problems. Most significant of them have been issues of affordable housing and encroachment of public land.
The Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) projects are delayed, there is a lack of infrastructure and open spaces. I have also addressed the issue of sanitation in these area, which is a big problem.
People have accused you of being disconnected from the constituency after you lost the 2014 elections. What is your take?
When I am not elected, why should I be present in the constituency? When I am not able to help them, my presence is not required. The people voted me out and the opposition MP is there.
Not being in power, I would be helpless as all the officers will be under the control of the ruling party. Having said that, wherever our party corporators were elected, they have been working in tandem with me and have been constantly updating me on the issues addressed.
Which are the factors likely to get you elected in the Lok Sabha elections?
It’s completely up to the people whether to get me elected or not. I just put forth to them what I offer to them honestly. I will do it with commitment and sincerity.
People need to come out and vote, as it is ultimately they who will decide who and what ideology they want to support. Your opponent, Poonam Mahajan, is the national president of their party’s youth wing, which helps her to connect with youngsters.
How are you trying to connect with the youth?
Just reaching out to youth is not going to work out, one also has to strike a dialogue with them to understand their issues at large. If one fails to address their problems, a dialogue is needed with the youth. The youth today play a very important role even politically and it is important to understand their issues.