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Delhi opts for forward looking Sheila Dikshit
rediff.com newsdesk |
December 04, 2003 17:46 IST
Last Updated: December 04, 2003 19:13 IST
Delhi proved to be the silver lining to the otherwise bleak outlook for the Congress. What must be especially comforting is the absolute majority it has won considering that it has granted similar space to the BJP in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
The Congress secured 47 of the 70 seats in the assembly and the BJP has settled for 20.
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit says that the verdict is an endorsement of the 'good work' her government has done. "People voted for us for the manner in which we worked and the change we brought about in Delhi. The verdict is for development. The people of Delhi deserve a better quality of life. This is what they have voted for and I will not disappoint them."
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The Delhi Metro, cleaner air (thanks to the increasing number of CNG-operated vehicles) and decent administration were the most visible signs of this 'good work'.
BJP leader Madan Lal Khurana shouted from every available rooftop that the Delhi Metro was the Centre's gift to the capital, but could not convince the electorate that his party deserved votes in return for that favour.
The Supreme Court had forced the state government's hand on the CNG issue, but it did not matter to the people. All they wanted was clean air, but Khurana failed to read the public mood.
While Dikshit had been unable to implement the people's demand owing to vested interests, Khurana went against public sentiment by staunchly opposing the move to shift polluting industries out of Delhi. He may have managed to woo the trading and business community but alienated the rest of the population.
While Sheila Dikshit enjoys the reputation of a forward-looking chief minister, Khurana promised a shift to the old ways of vote bank politics. Even after the result was out, Khurana was diffident even as he conceded defeat. He accused the Dikshit government of claiming undue credit for the Delhi Metro and introduction of CNG vehicles in the capital.
No wonder than that the Congress lost only a few of the seats it had won in the 1998 assembly elections though it had not won even a single parliamentary seat in the 1999 election.Among the notable losers are Kiran Choudhary, Congress MLA from Delhi Cantonment, and Ram Bhaj, BJP MLA from Sarojini Nagar.