The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Poll between Pinjar & Sheila

New Delhi, Nov. 28: Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit is so busy campaigning that she really misses her favourite pastime — watching movies.

Dikshit said she is waiting for the polls to get over on December 1 to catch up with some good fare that she has been missing for a month now. “I will take two days off after the polling and watch Pinjar,” Dikshit said yesterday while on the campaign trail in east Delhi.

Perhaps, she has been able to stay away from films because of the feel-good factor generated by the favourable poll surveys.

With only 72 hours to go for polling, Dikshit easily wakes up at 6.30 in the morning and shuttles between eight Assembly segments for over 15 hours to assess the fortunes of the Congress.

The campaigning, compared with last year, is muted with the Election Commission’s insistence on strict adherence to the model code of conduct looming large. The blaring loudspeakers, the hoardings and the posters are missing.

That does not deter Dikshit from saying over and over in east Delhi: “Congress vijayee hogi aur sarkar banayagi Dilli mein. Aaplogne TV nahi dekha, akhbar nahi padha' Sab hame jita rahe hain (The Congress will win and form the government in Delhi. Haven’t you all watched TV and read newspapers' All are saying the Congress is winning).”

The chief minister, however, is clearly apprehensive about voter turnout. She fears they may not come out in large numbers to exercise their franchise.

Dikshit urges the crowds in Shahadra, Vishwas Nagar, Krishna Nagar, Yamuna Vihar and Kerawal Nagar to step out and push the button for the “haath (hand)” symbol of the Congress.

The only hiccup she faces is at a public meeting in Purana Mustafabad locality of Kerawal Nagar. Before she can stand up to speak, local leader Atiq Bhai complains out loud about the constituency being neglected by the Congress government over the past few years.

Dikshit pacifies the leader and tells him to vote for Hasan Ahmed. The development, she says, will be taken care of. Kerawal Nagar went to the BJP last time.

Though candid on almost all issues while on the campaign trail, the chief minister chooses to laugh off queries about her having to fight Congress rebels more than the rival BJP.

So how many seats does she expect for her party' “We need to put our strength in about 15-20 seats (and names all of them), where the party is not comfortable.”

She singles out three instances as her government’s achievements though the Congress’ poll plank has been Delhi’s all-round development in the Dikshit years.

The use of CNG as fuel for commercial vehicles, privatisation of electricity and launch of Metro railway have all changed people’s lives radically, she believes.

Dikshit, who claims she has fulfilled all promises, however, regrets her inability to provide houses to slum dwellers and clean up the Yamuna, which is now no more than a sewer.

These two would top the priority list if she is returned to power, Dikshit promises.

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