Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal, who is seeking a third straight term from the Chandni Chowk Lok Sabha constitutency and filed his nomination on Thursday, spoke to Shubhomoy Sikdar about his prospects this time round and also the changed political scenario with the arrival of the Aam Aadmi Party on the scene.
The battle will be triangular this time. How tough do you think it will be for you to make a comeback?
If you look at the trends here, a large section of the votes used to go to the Bahujan Samaj Party. That, to some extent, has shifted to the Aam Aadmi Party.
But if you look at the two major candidates (Harsh Vardhan of the BJP and Ashutosh of the AAP) now, in their individual capacities they are said to be stronger as compared to some of your opponents in the last two elections.
In 2004, when I first contested, people used to tell me that Smriti Irani was a household name and that she was a strong candidate who would win. But we know what happened back then. It is all a matter of perception. It is the voter who decides and what is the voter looking for. And the answer is somebody whom he knows and can trust. Someone who can deliver.
As a senior Minister you hold very important portfolios in the Union Cabinet. Does it come at the cost of your visits to the constituency?
Not at all. A recent survey carried out by a major television network has rated me as one of the top performing MPs not just in Delhi but also the country. So if you want to work, other obligations do not become a handicap.
The Congress lost badly in the Assembly elections. Do you think it will be able to arrest the slide?
The slide was mainly because we had a phenomenon called (Arvind) Kejriwal. And that is ‘you go and sell a dream to people that they want to buy and forget about the delivery’. Who would not fall for promises like making your jobs permanent, free water, electricity tariff cut down by half, making 500 schools and granting ownership rights on lands where one lives.
There were media reports of you moving to Punjab for the Lok Sabha elections.
I am committed to Chandni Chowk for life. I have fought many battles both inside and outside the courts and I am not the kind of person who would run away from a challenge.