Delhi Congress wary of simultaneous electionsJuly 6th, 2008 - 9:59 am ICT by IANS
New Delhi, July 6 (IANS) The looming election clouds have Delhi’s ruling Congress worried. Having been in power for a decade, it knows there is plenty going against it, particularly soaring food prices and the sealing and demolition of illegal buildings in the city that has left tens of thousands distressed. With the row over the India-US nuclear deal casting a long shadow over Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government, the Congress at no cost wants elections to parliament and the state assembly to be held simultaneously.
Nevertheless, it hopes to bank on what it sees as some of the success stories, including a rapidly modernising transport system, infrastructure and the dramatic fall in pollution levels.
But these, Congress leaders say, would get overwhelmed by national issues in case the Lok Sabha and assembly elections take place simultaneously if and when the Left withdraws its legislative support to the Congress-led government of Manmohan Singh.
None of Delhi’s Congress leaders are willing to speak about their concerns although publicly they keep claiming that they will win the assembly elections again.
One party leader confessed to IANS: “In case both elections take place, we will not be able to highlight the local issues. Issues pertaining to the central government will take over.
“This will not be advantageous for us as we will not be able to showcase whatever we have done for the people of Delhi. All the space will go to leaders of the central government.”
Rising food prices and the hike in fuel prices are giving sleepless nights to Congress leaders.
“Price rise is definitely going to be a central issue. The Delhi government did everything possible to bring down the prices. We gave a subsidy to consumers on cooking gas,” he said.
In the 70-member Delhi assembly, the Congress has 47 seats and the BJP 20. The Congress came to power in the city in 1998 and won another five-year term in 2003.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), confident of unseating the Congress, is in an aggressive mood. It says that Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit cannot escape responsibility for the hundreds of shops and businesses that were sealed and shops and houses demolished during drives against illegal constructions.
“The Congress cannot blame the central government for everything. They have a government both in the city and at the Centre. If they worked in tandem, they would have provided relief to the common man,” said BJP spokesperson Mewa Ram Arya.
“The Congress has failed on all fronts and has done nothing for the people of Delhi. They have regularised not even one (poor people’s) colony in years,” Arya said.
The BJP’s belligerence is not the only worry for the Congress. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has been expanding its wings slowly but surely. After the BSP win in Uttar Pradesh in 2007, it is confident of performing better in the national capital if and when elections take place.
And whatever votes the BSP will garner, particularly from the poorer sections, will come at the cost of the Congress.
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