Former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has made startling revelations on why did the Congress party lost the 2013 Delhi Assembly elections. As per a Hindustan Times report, the support the Aam Aadmi Party received from first-time voters, who took Delhi’s infrastructure and growth for granted, was one of the key factors that led to the Congress being voted out in 2013. Dikshit, in her autobiography, ‘Citizen Delhi: My Times, My Life’, that will be released at the Jaipur Literature Festival on January 27, has said that the young people could not acknowledge the changes that her government had brought, unaware of what Delhi was like before she took over.
“A considerable chunk of voters, who were casting their ballot for the first time, had not seen the Delhi of 15 years ago. To them, a Delhi with regular power, flyovers and Metro rail, as well as several new universities, was their ‘natural right’ and therefore taken for granted. They could not be expected to feel ecstatic about it,” the 79-year-old who ruled the state from 1998 to 2013, was quoted as saying in the report.
She also added that the Congress did not take Arvind Kejriwal’s foray into politics seriously enough and his ability to tap into the sentiments of the voters, she confesses. “I myself was defeated by a margin of over 25,000 votes, losing the prestigious New Delhi seat to Arvind Kejriwal of AAP, a party that many of us had underestimated,” said Sheila. She also revealed that she was going to resign even before her term ended, but that the December 16 gang rape strengthened her resolve to stay on.
The memoir takes us through the lifelong journey of Delhi’s longest serving chief minister. “When I look back, I see an Indian woman, with what many may call a modern attitude even today, choosing to take the important decisions of her life and be accountable for them,” Dikshit said.
The memoir documents how a girl who loved cycling along the tree-lined avenues of a brand new Lutyens’ Delhi, five decades later, went on to govern, and transform, Delhi as its chief minister not once, but thrice consecutively — from 1998 to 2013. Dikshit made her debut in electoral politics in 1984 as a member of the Indian National Congress, contesting and winning from the Kannauj parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh. When she began assisting her father-in-law from 1969, her up-close view of politics eventually became a springboard for her own entry into the arena in December 1984, inaugurating a 30-year-long career in politics.