'2020 Delhi polls will give another Sheila Dikshit'

2020 Assembly polls will give another Sheila Dikshit to Delhi: Alka Lamba

The AAP and the BJP has fielded nine and five women respectively

"As far as public representatives are concerned, an MLA gets Rs 50 crore in five years. Which means 70 MLAs can do a lot," Lamba said. (PTI Photo)

Congress candidate for Delhi's Chandni Chowk seat Alka Lamba said on Friday that this assembly elections will give the city "another Sheila Dikshit".

Lamba (44), who quit the Aam Aadmi Party and returned to the Congress fold last year, claimed that her constituency would see a "one-sided contest as the AAP will find it difficult to explain to the people why it has fielded someone whom it termed 'corrupt' in 2015".

The AAP has fielded Prahlad Singh Sawhney, who contested the 2015 elections from the same seat on a Congress ticket and stood third.

On the low number of women representatives in electoral politics, Lamba said, "The Congress has always focussed on fair representation and this time it has fielded 10 women."

Asked if someone can rise to the stature of Sheila Dikshit -- a three-time chief minister -- Lamba was confident in declaring, "The 2020 elections will give another Sheila Dikshit to Delhi."

On the allegation of Congress practising dynastic politics and fielding family members of prominent party leaders in this election, she said, "That's not true. Former MP Jai Prakash Agarwal's son Mudit Agarwal wanted to contest from Chandni Chowk, but the party chose me considering what I have done on the ground for 25 years."

"In constituencies where the party could not find a very strong ground-level worker, it has given ticket to someone who has a political legacy considering their experience in politics," Lamba said.

The Congress candidate also said the BJP has become heavily dependent on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in its hustings, which will "eventually lead to its failure".

"The BJP has become hollow from inside. They are fighting all elections, even if it is gali ka chunav (local body election), with only one face. Leaders like (former Chhattisgarh CM) Raman Singh, (ex-Madhya Pradesh CM) Shivraj Singh Chauhan have vanished from the scene... Once PM Modi demits office, BJP will come crashing down," she said.

Lamba said data from election watchdog Association for Democratic Reforms shows a surprisingly high number of criminals, who have rape cases registered against them, have entered politics.

"This has happened because parties are seeking votes in the name of one leader or face. People get swayed by 'so called waves' and inadvertently vote criminals to power," she said.

The Election Commission told the Supreme Court on Friday that its 2018 direction asking poll candidates to declare their criminal antecedents in the media has not helped curb criminalisation of politics, and suggested that political parties should be asked not to give tickets to those with criminal background.

On the BJP raising national issues like the amended citizenship law and the planned National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the assembly elections, Lamba said, "They have got nothing to show to people, so they resort to polarisation."

"Union ministers are clinging on to the 'tukde-tukde gang' rhetoric. Senior BJP leaders are identifying people with their so-called strange eating habits. Our women in Shaheen Bagh are fighting to keep this country together and they (BJP leaders) are calling it a 'Shame' Bagh. Such leaders should be ashamed of themselves. Those who have women in their families cannot make such statements," she said.

Lamba, who rose from student politics, said the Congress and the BJP have made their stand clear on CAA and NRC and violence against students, but "the AAP is still deliberating the pros and cons and weighing the options".

"The BJP and the AAP have entered a secret pact. Kejriwal has been asked to keep mum. Students supported him in the 2011 India Against Corruption movement but he has left them in the lurch," she alleged.

About the delay in the hanging of the Nirbhaya gang-rape convicts, Lamba said pinned the blame on the BJP and the AAP who are in power at the Centre and the city respectively.

On lawyer Indira Jaising suggesting Nirbhaya's mother to "follow the example" of Congress leader Sonia Gandhi and pardon the four men sentenced to death for raping her daughter in 2012, Lamba said, "It is absolutely wrong."

"Let the mother who went through all the troubles for more than seven years decide. It is easy to give suggestions from the comfort of one's own home."

Asked to rate her work in the last five years, Lamba said, "I can never say I am content. I want to do more for my people."

"I have raised the issue of unauthorised constructions and power lines precariously dangling there. Illegal construction is going on unbridled, but the municipal corporation doesn't blink an eye," she alleged.

"A constant fear of an Anaaj Mandi-like blaze gnaws at me. Short circuits are common. We got 19 new transformers installed in the densely-populated areas such as Jama Masjid to divide the power load. I agree that a major disaster can happen anytime, but I will keep raising these issues and keep doing what I can," Lamba said.

She said extreme levels of pollution has choked city as the Kejriwal government "believe in publishing full-page advertisements and not in facing challenges head on like the Sheila Dikshit government".

"The Dikshit-led Congress government brought in CNG, shifted polluting industries to the outskirts. Since then, the government's budget has grown manifold but that has been used only for advertisements," she said.

"As far as public representatives are concerned, an MLA gets Rs 50 crore in five years. Which means 70 MLAs can do a lot," she added.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox