It will be a pro-incumbency wave for Congress: Sheila

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New Delhi, Nov 9: Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has exuded optimism that Congress would storm back to power for a third consecutive term, riding on the plank of stability and development achieved by her government.

''We go to the electorate with absolute confidence as Delhi has witnessed unprecedented progress in the past ten years. What people will call it anti-incumbency, it will be pro-incumbency for us,'' Ms Dikshit said in an interview with UNI.

''I have a dream of making Delhi a world class city. This is an unfinished agenda which we hope to complete after we come back to power. The opportunity has come in the form of the Commonwealth Games for which the infrastructure has to be developed on a massive scale,'' she said.

Terming stability as one of the major achievements of the ten-year rule of the Congress in Delhi, she said Delhi under the BJP in mid 90s was an epitome of instability. ''The regime had seen as many as three Chief Ministers. Power and water situation was in a total shambles,'' the Chief Minister said, adding that ''What a mess!'' While listing out the various achievements of her government in transport, health and education, Ms Dikshit admitted that the law and order problem could not be tackled by the government as it did not have control over policing.

On tackling terrorism, she said not just Delhi but the entire country was affected by terror attacks. ''As far as ensuring security is concerned, one state government could not take entire responsibility as it is too sophisticated matter.

Delhi is far more sensitive to terrorism than other states.'' Responding to the Opposition's criticism on her handling of the law and order, the 70-year-old Congress leader, who has been the Chief Minister for two consecutive terms since 1998, said when other states which have police under their jurisdiction could not control terror attacks, how could her government handicapped by the lack of control over land and policing, be expected to do so.

''Police is totally out of our hands. Neither DDA nor MCD are with us. Delhi government should at least have representation in Delhi Development Authority and MCD (which are under the Centre),'' said Ms Dikshit.

Asked about her government's efforts on grant of full statehood to Delhi, she said full statehood for Delhi, like that enjoyed by other states, was not possible, as it is the capital of the country.

Reacting to the Opposition's tirade against her government on price rise, the Chief Minister said '' Inflation in Delhi has been the least among all the metros. We have undertaken measures to check the price rise of essential commodities, like conducting raids on hoarders. Delhi is giving two dals and oil in ration shops for BPL families.'' Admitting that there has been a slight rise in prices of commodities, she said that if the prices have increased, so has the income level.

Highlighting the achievements of her government in the transport sector, she said,''In the last ten years, we have changed the face of transport in Delhi--brought in the Metro, high capacity low floor buses and AC buses. About 47 to 57 flyovers were built and more are in the pipeline.'' On BJP chief ministerial candidate V K Malhotra's allegation that there was a major scam in the purchase of low floor buses, Ms Dikshit outrightly denied it.

Mr Malhotra had alleged that while the low floor buses in Chennai had cost Rs 16 lakh, it was Rs 42 lakh in the capital.

To this, Ms Dikshit said the Chennai buses were medium floor and not low floor and he was only referring to the cost of its chasis and not the bus.

Ms Dikshit said that in the last ten years, her government made rapid strides in the fields of education, health, environment, power, water supply and social sector.

''In the education sector, on the one hand we have built two schools per month in the last ten years while on the other, there has been a sharp improvement in performance of government schools, from 35-36 per cent in 1998 to 85 per cent at present.

In higher education, the government has set up four new universities- while the Bhimrao Ambedkar University is to start in April next, there is a college of pharmaceuticals, a Law college and an IIIT started in association with G B Pant Hospital'', the Delhi Chief Minister stated.

Ms Dikshit added, '' In the health sector, from five to six hospitals ten years ago, Delhi now has 30 to 35 hospitals besides 50 small hospitals and 300 plus dispensaries. In the social sector, we have undertaken a scheme to built housing for the poor who live in the jhuggis. Nearly three to four lakh applications have already been recieved. 13 to 14000 houses are ready.

Under the JNNURM, we plan to build low cost houses for nearly four to five lakh people in the next four to five years.'' On her government's achievement in the field of environment, Ms Dikshit said,''Delhi today is much greener compared to what it was ten years ago. From two per cent in 1999, the green area in the city has increased to 20 per cent today, despite the large number of infrastructural development in the city.'' In terms of power situation too, Ms Dikshit said,''power consumption in Delhi has gone up from 1900 MW in 1998 to over 4000 MW today. Besides, we are also planning for the future which includes setting up a 1500 MW gas based power plant in Bawana, a 750 MW plant in Bamnauli and a 750 MW coal-based power plant in Jhajjhar in partnership with Haryana government.'' On the water front, she said the situation had improved considerably, thanks to the coming up of 140 MGD Sonia Vihar water treatment plant.

On the Opposition's charge that granting of provisional certificates of regularisation to unauthorised colonies was a pre-election ploy to gather votes, the Chief Minister vehemently dispelled the criticism, saying ''These were all legally notified documents.

We have been fighting on this issue for several years even when the NDA government was in power. The certificates were issued after a notification by the Union Urban Development Ministry. So the contention that we are fooling the people is wrong.'' UNI

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