'Honeymoon' of AAP, BJP over; Delhi people want Congress to return: Chacko

Photo: ANI Twitter Handle

The Congress on Monday exuded confidence of forming the next government in Delhi on its own, saying the "honeymoon" of both AAP and BJP is over and people want the grand old party to return to power.

The Congress said the national capital lagged in development due to the power tussle between the AAP-led Delhi government and the BJP-led dispensation at the Centre.

The election to the 70-member Delhi Assembly will take place on February 8 and results will be declared on February 11, the Election Commission announced earlier in the day.

"The Congress party is well prepared and better equipped than the other two parties in Delhi. We are fairly sure that we will be able to form the government on our own. The honeymoon period of BJP and AAP is over and BJP is not taken seriously. The people now want the Congress to return to power," AICC in-charge for Delhi affairs P C Chacko said.

"We are quite sure of doing better than the Lok Sabha elections, where we were second in 43 constituencies in Delhi," he told reporters.

Chacko said the Congress had 23 per cent vote share in the Lok Sabha elections and expressed confidence that it would do better in the upcoming assembly polls.

"When we got so many votes a few months ago, why will we not get those votes now," he asked.

The senior Congress leader said the party will release its manifesto on Sunday and it will have solutions to a lot of Delhi's problems, including infrastructure, pollution and traffic.

The manifesto will include an unemployment allowance for youth, more free power for consumers that will benefit at least 60 per cent population, and a monthly pension of Rs 5,000 for senior citizens under the Sheila Pension Yojana, he said.

Asked whether the Congress will project a chief ministerial face, Chacko said the party has decided not to declare a name as was done in Jharkhand and Maharashtra assembly polls.

"The party is going to polls and not the individual," he said.

He said the screening of candidates for the polls would be complete by this week and thereafter a meeting of the Central Election Committee will be held to finalise the candidates.

At least eight to 10 candidates have applied for party tickets for each seat, he added.

On any possibility of an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Chacko said "it cannot be a one-way traffic".

He said division of votes may take place in some places and that will help the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but one cannot help it sometimes.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said Delhi has been pushed behind in development because of the friction between the BJP and the AAP.

"Delhi wants a change and its only alternative now rests with the Congress. We hope that Delhi's people will bless the Congress this time," he told reporters.

On the party's chief ministerial face, he said whenever there is a sitting chief minister, he is projected as the candidate but the party contests under collective leadership wherever it is out of power.

Speaking to reporters, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram blamed the BJP for the violence at Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University on Sunday night and said Delhiites should reject the party in the assembly polls.

"It is a grave act of impunity. Because we are ruling at the Centre, our members can get away with anything -- it is to send a message of intimidation, threat to the common people of Delhi.

"This is precisely the occasion when the common people of Delhi must rise and reject it log, stock and barrel, the BJP, in the Delhi elections," he said.



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