Millennium Post

Sheila Dikshit ready for a new innings

Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit is padded up to take a fresh guard ahead of the 2013 assembly poll. Despite being at the helm for 14 years, she refuses to show any fatigue. In an exclusive interview to Millennium Post she declared that her agenda for the city was unfinished. ‘To me, there are no full stops. A growing and vibrant city continues to pose challenges, and I do not give up easily,’ Dikshit said.

But somewhere she regrets at not being considered for ‘bigger opportunities’ by her party. ‘In politics desire is not always met. When the Congress came to power in Delhi in 1998, Sushma Swaraj was the BJP chief minister. Today she is the leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha. In politics, opportunities are a matter of luck. I will continue in my present job as long as I am ordained to. There are things which are beyond us, as are the rains,’ said the chief minister, looking out of the window of her plush office, pointing at the receding water level of the lake inside the Delhi Secretariat.

‘In 2010, we wanted clear skies to prepare for the Commonwealth Games, but we had just 10 clear days. This year, we are waiting for the rains to help us solve our drinking water problem but they have been delayed,’ said Dikshit, referring to the much maligned games. ‘I feel very hurt. We should have been proud of the games rather then letting ourselves down. We rose to the challenge with love, affection and commitment for the nation, which literally meant holding and wielding the broom. As face of Delhi we felt that if we failed, the Delhi government would have to take the flak, though several other agencies were involved, including a GoM where I was just an invitee,’ said Dikshit, asserting that the witch-hunt which followed never made her nervous.

‘I got a clean chit from the CAG. We put our reply to the Shunglu Committee on the website, but they decided to criticise me for holding meetings late into the night at my home. I am proud of the legacy which the games has given to the city – Barapullah Road, Saleemgarh bypass, a world-class bus fleet and so many other projects which would have taken 20 years to execute. But, what was the hurry to send people to jail to counter a malicious propaganda. The people who were sent to jail are all out. Certainly act against those who may have done wrong but please don’t act in a hurry,’ she said.

On being asked if she was ready with her poll team, Dikshit said, ‘I have a very vibrant team, but it’s too early to call it the poll team. If the team was not vibrant, how could we have met the challenge to provide over 5,600 megawatts of power, 840 mgd of water and manage 70 lakh-odd vehicles on the road? Since Delhi is cynosure of everybody’s eye, we cannot afford to sit idle. We have to be vibrant.'
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