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The Rediff Election Special / Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi

'You have to take success, failure in stride'

April 16, 2004

He runs a non-governmental organisation, 'Sanket', and wants to implement his organisational talent in the political arena after procuring the Congress ticket for the East Delhi parliamentary constituency.

Would you have got the ticket if you weren't the CM's son?
Whether it is politics or cricket or business or any other field, young people follow their parents' footsteps. I don't think that should be grudged.

Are you equipped to contest?
People know me as I have campaigned for my mother [in the Gol Market assembly seat], and they know that I am sincerely enthusiastic about the issue of taking care of their problems. I don't feel inadequate in any way.

Isn't East Delhi a different ballgame?
I have toured various pockets of the constituency and the response I got was warm and enthusiastic. I think people want a change and I am ready.

Your BJP rival enjoys tremendous support among the people known as 'purvaiyyas' in East Delhi.

I have felt the people's pulse, which is why I am optimistic about my prospect. There are issues of local development, of unemployment, of power, electricity and the like. I can organise things and can get the problems solved.

What you think of the BJP's performance in Delhi?
Oh, you mean its non-performance? Why do you think Sheila Dikshit's Congress government retained power with such thumping majority. The people know what loud talk is about and they will respond appropriately.

That his mother and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit moved heaven and earth to get him the ticket despite strong opposition from party colleagues is well known.

What is not known is that when Sandeep expressed his desire to contest the election, his mother told him that it isn't a bed of roses and that there are more disappointments and frustrations in store than rewards. She relented when she fathomed that he had made up his mind for better or for worse.

"I like challenges, it gives you a tingling feeling, a sense of expectancy that makes you give your best, no matter what the results may be," he says. "I know that I can be misunderstood, but I don't shy away from making my point."

Many newcomers are enthusiastic like him, but their longevity in the political arena is yet to be seen.

Many children of famous politicians have been swept into the dustbin of history after tasting electoral defeat, but Dikshit's son does not seem to be bothered.

"You have to take success and failure in your stride. What matters is whether you learn the appropriate lesson and act accordingly. That can be the saving grace," he says.

Along with his experience in the field of development, Sandeep, it can be said, had a thing for politics, something that the progeny of powerful politicians find hard to resist. He was a member of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee and campaigned in Uttar Pradesh.

Having weighed his chances, he took the political plunge and his mother promised to do what she could to push his case.

However, he is aware that the path ahead is strewn with obstacles, the primary one being emerging victorious against the Bharatiya Janata Party's Lal Bihari Tiwari, a sitting member of Parliament and no pushover.

"Of course, my campaign has already begun. I will leave no stone unturned," he says, conscious that his mother will extend as much help as possible.

With a little bit of luck, the mother-son duo could rule Delhi.

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