NEW DELHI: In a free-wheeling chat, incumbent MP and BJP’s candidate from West Delhi admits he is under the shadow of his father but says he has done enough for the people on his own and will return to power with a thumping majority. Excerpts:
Your opponents say that you merely bank on the legacy of your father— Sahib Singh Verma?
A child can’t shed the tag of his parent or parents. I believe no one should do that. My father, a grassroots level party worker, has done a lot for the people of Delhi; first as a chief minister and later when he was a minister at the Centre. His struggle is an inspiring story, how he began from a poor family, managed to secure a job in a college, and later became CM. He did a lot for the city, be it unauthorised colony, urban areas, or villages. Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University is his gift to Delhi. Netaji Subhash University of Technology (Dwarka), engineering college (Bawana), and Aditi Mahavidhyalya (Khair village) were built due to his concentrated efforts. People still remember his tenure as Chief Minister and respect him.
Do you have an advantage of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity?
Yes. I have prepared a leaflet comprising 20 achievements of the Modi government and equal number of projects undertaken by me in my constituency. While the local MLA ignored the demands of people, I managed to set up a new hospital, school, and community halls in West Delhi. A road is being constructed, which will cater to over one lakh people living behind the Uttam Nagar bus terminal. The stretch will facilitate direct connectivity to Uttam Nagar East Metro station. Presently, people are forced to take a detour through Vikaspuri, where they remain stuck in traffic.
The AAP has released a report card of each BJP MP in Delhi. They made allegations against you too. What is your response?
The details of projects I initiated in West Delhi constituency, with the help of my Local Area Development funds, are with the constituents. Entire allocation of five years— `25 crore has been spent. In fact, the remaining amount of `1 crore of the previous MP has also been used. I got a 100-bed hospital sanctioned in Najafgarh, which had been pending for 20 years.
Its foundation laying ceremony was done twice. Due to my persistent efforts, the Centre allocated `100 crore for the facility. The hospital’s construction is on in full swing and is likely to be completed by February 2020. Once it is functional, people of rural areas will not need to travel to the city for medical reasons. I could list out several projects as my achievements as an MP. In last 20 years, past chief ministers like Sheila Dikshit and Arvind Kejriwal have not opened a single college, stadium or hospital in Delhi because development is not on their agenda.With no alliance between the Congress and AAP, is it going to be three-cornered contest in West Delhi?
I don’t want to sound overconfident but there is no contest in West Delhi. On the basis of support and affection I am getting from people, it is quite clear that they desire to see Narendra Modi as prime minister again. They want a stable and corruption-free government which can tackle terrorism. Only Narendra Modi will fulfil their dreams. The BJP will get more than 80 per cent votes.
Who is a stronger rival — AAP’s Balbir Singh Jhakar or Mahabal Mishra of Congress?
The AAP candidate is an outsider. He is from Gurgaon and does not have any knowledge about local issues. I wouldn’t discuss reasons for which he was given the ticket to contest from West Delhi. This is for AAP’s retrospect. I defeated AAP’s Jarnail Singh last election and Mishra was a distant third. I am confident that they will lose their deposits this time too.
The AAP and Congress could not stitch an alliance. What is your opinion?
Who makes alliances on twitter? It was all a drama. Kejriwal and Congress president Rahul Gandhi were waiting for the other to propose first. They had a break up before they could confess love for each other. The alliance had never been our concern. Had they joined hands, the BJP in Delhi would have won all seven seats with unprecedented margin.
With no alliance, the margin will be less than our expectation. The voters have understood that Congress and AAP were fooling them. They indulged in trading votes without knowing the desire of the people. Both stand exposed now. The Congress has already conceded defeat and had to recall Dikshit, a retired leader.