AAP will repeat massive victory in upcoming Delhi elections: Sanjay Singh

Sanjay Singh | Illustration: Binay Sinha
Sanjay Singh, who is in charge of organising Assembly elections for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), says the party will benefit because the Delhi government, led by Arvind Kejriwal, has delivered. Edited excerpts from the interview with :

In the Delhi Assembly election in 2015, AAP won 67 of the 70 seats. You had then showcased 49 days of your government’s work in its earlier stint in 2013-14. But this time you are contesting after five years of being in government. How much of a challenge is a repeat of the same victory?

The people gave us a massive mandate in 2015 because in just 49 days (before that) we had kept our promises about water, electricity, and corruption, which we had said in our manifesto. And, this time we are going to the people with our five-year report card — 200 units of electricity free, 20,000 litres of free water, and free medicine, checkups and treatment in hospitals.

Today, the Delhi government bears the health expenses of victims of road accidents. We have provided free bus rides for women in Delhi and installed 300,000 cameras for their security. Apart from that, the Delhi government is giving the highest compensation to farmers for their land — at Rs 50,000 per hectare (one hectare = 110,000 square feet). For martyrs’ families, we gave Rs 1 crore. We have doubled the salaries of anganwadi workers and guest teachers. These are our achievements, on which the people will vote for us. We will surely repeat our massive victory in the coming election.

AAP says it has fulfilled all the promises it made in 2015, but free wi-fi across Delhi is still a dream. 

We have done more than we promised in our manifesto. Our priority is education — 26 per cent of our Budget expenditure, the highest in the country, goes to education. The Delhi government is spending 13 per cent of the Budget on health. Our Budget is the only deficit-free one in the country.

Today, the country’s GDP is going down but Delhi’s GDP is increasing. And we will complete the small works that are pending in the coming months.  

AAP came to power riding on the corruption-free Delhi wave. What is the party’s main agenda for the upcoming election?

This time our only agenda will be our report card, which will tell the people of our achievements. People will judge us on our promises and delivery. We will start our election campaign with a positive message. We have kept negative messaging for the BJP, which it is good at.

Just three months before the election the central government approved the norms to grant ownership in Delhi’s 1,797 unauthorised colonies, with nearly 4 million residents. These colonies are considered an AAP vote bank. Do you think that this move will help the BJP to lure your voters?

What did the Central government do to approve these colonies? The Delhi government on November 12, 2015, sent an application to the central government to seek approval. For four years, we fought the battle to get them approved. AAP took the initiative, and this Bill will be passed in Parliament in the coming session.

AAP, not the BJP, will benefit from this move because we did the work to get these colonies approved. The Central government only delayed the approval. The Delhi government has spent Rs 6,000 crore on development work in these colonies.

Pollution has taken centre stage this time. Will it be a political issue during the Assembly election? And what has the Delhi government done in the past five years to curb the pollution generated from the exhaust of diesel generators, garbage burning, the dust of construction sites, and illegal industrial activity?

The government, with the support of the people, has reduced pollution by 25 per cent. This data has been provided by agencies working on environmental matters.

We started a drive to plant trees in Delhi. It was our initiative to supply 24-hour electricity so that people could reduce the use of generators. With the ban on construction and excavation in Delhi, we were able to control pollution generated through the dust. With the successful experiment of odd-even, we were able to curb pollution in Delhi.

Because of our innovative idea of laser Diwali celebration, people were motivated not to use crackers and thousands of them participated in our initiative. But what did the BJP do? BJP workers were bursting crackers, and sharing photos of their garbage burning. People in Delhi are watching all of this. They know that the BJP is against all the work done for Delhi’s welfare.

When we started odd-even, it protested against that too. Today, anybody can make out the difference in air quality — after odd-even implementation, pollution has been curbed. This difference has not been seen in Lucknow, Varanasi, Kanpur, or any other place.

Funnily, the BJP wants odd-even in UP. What does this mean? It is against everything the Kejriwal government does.

AAP has accused the Central government of doing nothing to prevent pollution in Delhi. Any comment?

The Central government has not complied with any recommendation of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and the Supreme Court to prevent stubble burning in Haryana, Punjab, and UP. All stakeholders need to work together to make a comprehensive plan to deal with this issue. But our Union environment minister, Prakash Javadekar, gave a statement that the Kejriwal government should give Rs 1,500 crore to the Haryana and Punjab governments to prevent pollution in Delhi. They should have asked the state governments to supply a sufficient number of seeders and threshers, so that the farmers could stop stubble burning. Have they done that?

The environment minister has postponed three meetings with state environment ministers, which shows either he has no time for them or does not consider treating the national capital’s poor air quality on priority.

But recently newspapers have given three different values of PM2.5 ratings and have charged AAP with giving false numbers…

We are not the ones to give those pollution reports. Several environmental agencies did their research and drew the conclusion that pollution in Delhi has reduced by 25 per cent. Questioning them on the basis of newspaper reports would be wrong.

Delhi has a water challenge for decades. And a Lok Sabha Secretariat report in 2018 stated Delhi’s water quality is alarming. What did the Delhi government do about this?

The Kejriwal government is the only one that has supplied drinking water through pipelines to homes. The menace of the mafia, which I heard for the first time in Delhi, has been removed by our government.

And to improve the water level in Delhi, we have launched a project to create natural reservoirs to conserve rainwater in the Yamuna floodplains. This will end the water crisis in the capital.

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