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'BJP led municipal corp wasted five years of Dilliwallah's lives'

With one more week to go before Delhi votes in municipal elections, the Congress Party is doing all it can to shift the focus from its scam-tainted image – something the BJP has gone all out to highlight – and bring local issues to the fore.

The Congress Party is pulling out all the stops to replace the incumbent BJP. On Saturday it released three manifestoes which focused on local issues specific to the south, north and east municipal corporations, which were created following the trifurcation of the mammoth municipal corporation of Delhi (MCD).

Firstpost spoke to Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee chief Jai Prakash Agarwal on why he believes Delhi should vote for the Congress this time.

Jai Prakash Agarwal at a Padayatra in December

As you enter the final week of campaigning, what will your focus be on?
We will give people a corruption free administration. We are promising good work in the civic body.

What are the top five issues Congress is focusing on?
You cannot pick five. There are so many issues. We will give them good roads, cleanliness, construct houses. Then, of course, there is education and health. There are so many others. But these main five issues are the responsibility of the civic administration.

It is the first election after the trifurcation of the municipal corporation. How has the Congress Party adapted to this new situation?
Delhi is very big and Congress thought it proper to split the corporation into three zones. As far as campaigning goes, it is very simple. Every Member of Parliament is campaigning in his constituency which comprises about 40 wards. So each is campaigning in their constituencies.

What has been the party’s strategy in selecting candidates?
We have seven election committees in Delhi. They work independently for the selection of candidates. It went on very peacefully and wonderfully well. See what happened in the BJP after the distribution of tickets. There was so much hue and cry, burning of effigies and so on. When we distributed tickets, did you hear anything in the Congress camp?

Has there been a conscious effort to promote young candidates? Forty per cent of your candidates are under 40.
Yes. The average age of candidates is between 35-40.

Your comments on the BJP releasing a booklet titled Ghotale hi ghotale that lists the corruption scandals that have rocked the Congress-led government.

My reaction to their agenda is read the BJP manifesto of 2012 and 2007. They are similar to each other. They have the same points. They have done nothing. They only attended meetings. So what we are saying is that the BJP has wasted five years of dilliwalahs. They have done no work, have brought no progress.

How many wards are you expecting to win?
All the three corporations will have our mayors.

Finally, why should Delhi vote for Congress?
What the Congress promises, it does. We have done it when we were in Corporation. And we will do it again.