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MCD bypolls: For the first time after 2009, Congress’s performance has improved, says Ajay Maken

Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ajay Maken talks to The Indian Express about how things are finally looking up for the party and its future plans for the MCDs.

Written by Naveed Iqbal | New Delhi |
May 18, 2016 3:53:51 am
MCD bypolls, delhi civic bypolls, ajay maken, lok sabha, delhi congress, congress, delhi news, ajay maken delhi, congress maken, congress delhi news, congress news sabha, delhi congress, congress, delhi news, indian express delhi Ajay Maken at the DPCC office Tuesday. (Express Photo by Prem Nath Pandey)

After poor performances in the Lok Sabha and assembly elections, the Congress has something to cheer about with its five-seat win in the MCD bypolls.

What does this victory mean for the party?

This is a big resurgence for us. For the first time after the 2009 parliamentary elections, our performance has improved. We have managed to turn things around from a state of steady decline. From a 6.8 per cent vote share in the previous election, we have come up to nearly 30 per cent. This also helps us consolidate our position as an opposition party.

WATCH VIDEO | Breaking Down The MCD Bypoll Results: AAP Wins In 5 Wards, Congress In 5
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_75p2-ie5w%5D

What factors led to this turnaround for the party?

Three factors helped. Firstly, the resentment against AAP, particularly among the marginalised sections. They are the most aggrieved and the ones who feel most cheated by the government. Big announcements such as mohalla clinics, budget allocations for education have not changed things on the ground.

Secondly, AAP’s style of governance has harmed people. AAP has to come out of this NGO/opposition frame of mind and govern like a ruling party. Constant confrontation in a state like Delhi cannot work in its favour and will be detrimental to the state.

Thirdly, we have always been abreast of issues in the state and have countered the government’s decisions despite not having a presence in the assembly. We have continued to take up issues of the marginalised.

What has worked for you, personally, as the party’s state unit president?

What works for me is that I have the support of the party leadership. If there is an important issue in the state and I seek the support of the leadership, I am assured of it. When the safai karamcharis went on strike in the capital, I requested Rahul ji to come and listen to their grievances. He agreed and joined the workers in their strike. He also met residents of Shakurbasti when their jhuggis were demolished. This, I believe, has been a key factor in securing both wards in the east for us.

What is the way forward for the Congress?

In the next four months, we will draw a concrete roadmap for the MCDs. The corporations never faced any financial trouble under the Congress government. This, for us, will be the precursor to the MCD elections in 2017. We will most likely get a majority next year.

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