In an interview with Parvez Sultan, the BJP candidate from East Delhi talks about issues ranging from failures of AAP government and challenges in politics to Kashmir autonomy.
What inspired you to join politics?
Two reasons pushed me into politics. Our country is at a crucial point, where we need a strong leader. There were instances, when we needed a strong leadership. You must have seen 26/11 (the Mumbai terror attacks). How did we react? How should we have reacted? After Uri, we (the present government) did a surgical strike. We carried out airstrike on Balakot. The point is that the country needs a strong leadership. I am impressed with PM Narendra Modi and his policies. This is one reason.
I want to carry forward our PM’s dream, which is development. In last four and half years, no development took place in the city. No development at all. The AAP government has not fulfilled any of its promises. They have betrayed the people of Delhi. This was another major reason for which I joined politics.
I am a Delhi boy and the city has given me so much. I will use this opportunity to bring change to my home state. I have an emotional connect with Delhi. I want to do something for the city and especially for the people of this constituency.
You are critical of AAP and Arvind Kejriwal. You often tweet your opinion. On what front has AAP failed?
They have failed to deliver on their promises, be it development or infrastructure. No CCTV cameras were installed. They had made a hue and cry about women security. They promised security guards in DTC buses, but there is none.
Dharna is not a solution.
When you are a chief minister of a state and don’t get support or cooperation from the Centre, you can talk and debate. But what did they do? If a CM sits on dharna and strike, you let down the people. Kejriwal always blames others for everything. The fact is that because he could not perform in last four and half years, he is creating full statehood as an issue.
Will no alliance between Congress and AAP help BJP?
Delhi is tired of his (Kejriwal) theatrics. He would criticize them (Congress). He made corruption an issue. The AAP rode on it to claim power in the city. Now, they are desperate to join hands with Congress. We are not afraid of their alliance. Whatever promises AAP had made, we will deliver on them — be it CCTVs, women security, or overall development. We will not take four and half years to deliver them. If your intention is right, you can deliver. Your intention matters (in such cases).
Which is the bigger challenge, Congress or AAP?
The challenge is not Congress or AAP. Our biggest challenge would be to deliver. What we promise, we must deliver. That is also the vision of the Prime Minister.
You were considered for New Delhi constituency initially. You have got East Delhi.
It (constituency) does not matter. I am happy. I am born and brought up in Delhi. It is a great opportunity to do something in return. I have been given immense love and affection by the people of this city. I could represent the country because of the city, through the city. It is my duty to return that affection. I am sure that this emotional connect with help me to deliver.
You have far less time for campaign. How will you manage?
I have played cricket. Cricket is a team sport. This (Lok Sabha election) is also a team sport. We (party workers) have got a fabulous team. They work really hard. Excitement is palpable. This is our (party’s) biggest strengthen.
You have professional commitments. How will you maintain a balance between politics and profession?
My priority is to serve the people of Delhi and the country. Commentary and other commitments are secondary now. Joining politics was an important decision. I joined with a commitment. This will remain foremost. People may criticize. They may say that I have been ‘parachuted’ to the constituency. But my topmost priority is how I can make East Delhi better. I will put heart and soul into it.
You have sparred with two former J&K chief ministers on social media over the issue of autonomy of the state. What is your opinion on the issue?
From Kanyakumari to Kashmir, this country is one. We (BJP) want development for everyone. We do not want to leave anyone behind. We want to take everyone along. If you say that you need a separate country and Prime Minister, this country will never accept the demand. This country had one PM, has a PM and will have one. PM says, ‘Sabka saath sab ka vikas’. We genuinely believe in this. Every religion and section is equally important. This country can grow only when we all come together for development. We are committed to this goal.
What is the definition of nationalism for you?
Growth. If everyone grows, this country will grow.