Grappling with the aftermath of the Delhi debacle, city BJP chief Manoj Tiwari says while the party has accepted the people’s mandate, it is counting on the positives from a failed campaign. Excerpts from an interview with Parvez Sultan;
What were the reasons which led to your party’s defeat?
Our top leaders will assess the results. Though we lost, our vote share has increased from 32 per cent to about 40 per cent. We have realised that we need to make more ground. Our aim is to the take the vote share to 51 per cent.
How’s the party looking ahead after the loss?
Our objective is to make Delhi a world class city. We have seven MPs (from Delhi). They will expedite projects announced by the central government. These include riverfront beautification at the Yamuna, building cycle tracks across the city and Bharat Vandana Park in Dwarka, implementing the housing scheme and, most importantly, handing registries of properties to residents of unauthorised colonies.
The election results indicate a two-party system in the national capital. We’ll work with full dedication to realise our goal.
What’s your message to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal?
Delhi has given another term in power to AAP and we hope Kejriwal will fulfill the aspirations of the people and make the city better. We are also committed to this cause and will work as a constructive Opposition in the Assembly.
Though our party holds the reins of the three MCDs, they are suffering because of discrimination by the government. I appeal to Kejriwal not to indulge in a blame game and release funds to the municipalities.
The municipalities will go to polls next. Questions are already being raised over irregularities and corruption in the MCDs. How do you plan to transform their image?
If someone comes to me with proof of any wrongdoing (in the MCDs), I won’t take more than 24 hours to punish the culprits. We have started a drive to weed out the bad apples.
You had proposed direct release of funds from the Centre to the MCDs. Will you push for it now?
Direct transfer of funds requires an amendment to the Constitution. It can’t be introduced in Delhi alone. It will apply to municipalities across the country.