“Winning ability and past work would be the main criteria”

East Delhi MP and Congress spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit on Monday said in the next Lok Sabha elections the Congress will not give ticket to tainted MPs. “Winning ability and past work would be the main criteria.”

Pointing out how Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had gained by getting the early mover advantage in the Delhi assembly elections, Mr. Dikshit insisted that early announcement of candidates would help the Congress prepare better for the polls.

As for the alliances being worked out, he said that was being taken care of by a panel headed by Defence Minister A.K. Antony.

In the case of Delhi, in particular, Mr. Dikshit admitted that the party would have to work hard. Though he is himself the son of former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, he said it would be in the fitness of things if the party changed some sitting MPs, in particular those who are related to senior leaders.

Rahul likely to contest from Amethi

Asked about the recent announcements by APP leader Kumar Vishwas about his intention to contest against Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi from Amethi, Mr. Dikshit remarked in jest that “whoever wants to lose can contest Amethi” but later on a more serious note said everyone was free to contest from wherever he pleases. He said in all likelihood Mr. Gandhi would still fight from there.

On the threat posed to the Congress by AAP, Mr. Dikshit said: “We do not take anyone lightly, what other parties do is their work, we will take our position.”

Asked if he was known to AAP leader and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Mr. Dikshit replied in the affirmative but added that he had not prompted the party to keep the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) out of power. “Some give me credit for giving birth to the AAP in Delhi. But had I been so influential, would I not have ensured the victory of the Congress in Delhi?” asked the two-time MP from East Delhi.

AAP promises

On the promises made by the AAP, he said while launching mohalla committees was a way towards decentralization of power and it took care of small needs, mechanisms would be needed to empower such committees especially when they would encounter situation which affect one party adversely — a case in point being opening of gates for villages or jhuggi clusters from residential colonies.

Addressing the question of whether the AAP would be able to form a strong Lokayukta in Delhi, Mr. Dikshit said all Delhi Government Acts have to be in consonance with the Central Acts.

He said in the matter of bringing the political parties under the Right to Information Act too, the Congress wanted to ensure that financial and other issues should not come in the way of the functioning of the political parties. “It would affect all political parties. But now the report of the Standing Committee has come and we will consult with the other parties.”