Monday, Feb 26, 2018 | Last Update : 02:54 AM IST

Sheila Dikshit, Ajay Maken shun differences, attack Kejri at joint press meet

THE ASIAN AGE. | SANJAY KAW
Published : Feb 15, 2018, 1:34 am IST
Updated : Feb 15, 2018, 1:35 am IST

He aid that 75 flyovers and 4,308 Km roads were also added during the Congress rune.

Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken and former chief minister Sheila Dikshit at a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday. (Photo: Pritam Bandyopadhyay)
 Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken and former chief minister Sheila Dikshit at a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday. (Photo: Pritam Bandyopadhyay)

New Delhi: Shunning their differences, Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken and former chief minister Sheila Dikshit addressed their first joint press conference after AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal took over as the chief minister of the national capital three years ago in 2015. The occasion also saw Mr Maken publicly admitting to the fact that he himself was to be blamed for not taking an initiative to actively involve Ms Dikshit in the party’s day-to-day affairs. The two leaders recently broke ice  after Mr Maken personally visited the former CM’s   residence, following which she assured him that she would aggressively campaign for all the party candidates who will contest the bypolls in the 20 Assembly seats, whose legislators had been disqualified over the contentious office of profit issue.

The occasion also saw  supporters of the two leaders coming together on the same stage. Among those present were former city ministers A.K. Walia, Haroon Yusuf, Mangat Ram Singhal, Ramakant Goswami, Yoganand Shastri and Kiran Walia,  former Speaker Subhash Chopra, former MPs Sajjan Kumar and Mahabal Mishra and Delhi Mahila Congress chief Sharmishtha Mukherjee. To a pointed question that had the two leaders come together in the past, the party would have fared much better in  Assembly and  civic elections, Mr Maken said: “You are correct. I should have taken  this initiative as the PCC president. My mistake.” The Congress party had faced a humiliating defeat in the Assembly elections in which it was not able to win even a single seat. The party  faced another electrifying defeat in the  municipal elections in the three civic bodies.

Leaving no stone unturned to attack the Kejriwal government’s three-year performance for its failure to take city forward, Mr Maken used the occasion to shower praises on the 15-year-old rule of Ms Dikshit by saying that all the development works were undertaken during her tenure. To back his claim, he released a 41-page booklet which provided a  detailed statistical  back-up on various sectors where the Congress government had done a commendable job.

The packed media conference also saw Ms Dikshit criticizing  her successor  by saying that his government was spending  more money on advertisements rather spending the same on the welfare measures. and   infrastructure projects. On the public transport, Mr Maken said  the Congress government had added 3,125 DTC buses, opened 12 bus depots  and constructed a massive 193 kilometer metro network. On the other hand, he said the AAP government had deleted 1,273 DTC buses and got the Metro-III projects delayed by more than two years. He aid that 75 flyovers and 4,308 Km roads were also added during the Congress rune.

About the education sector, Mr Maken said  the Congress government had opened six universities, six deemed universities, 22 general education colleges and 20 professional educational colleges. But, he said  that 98,000 students had left government schools and Rs 1,982 crore got lapsed  in this sector in the last two years.

Praising Ms Dikshit for opening 14 new hospitals, 243 dispensaries and 84 maternal centers, Mr Maken said  the Kejriwal government has in return closed 111 dispensaries and there were a record 9,149 deats in a single year from respiratory diseases and 1.4 lakh others died due to cholera, diarrhea and other diseases during this period.

Mr Maken said that the AAP government had cheated people by not appointing Lokpal in Delhi,  the plea on which it got 67 of the 70 seats in the Assembly. “Leave aside Lokpal in Delhi, the party has in fact removed its internal Lokpal as well.” 

Tags: ajay maken, kejriwal government