This election will be fought on local issues and the work done by our previous governments from 1998 to 2013. At the time Congress came to power, Delhi was in a very bad state, there was no development, people were not able to get clean water, but the Congress, under the leadership of Sheila Dikshit, transformed it completely. We provided electricity and water to people. We built the Delhi Metro and other infrastructure.
To tackle pollution in the city, Congress introduced compressed natural gas (CNG). Delhi also won an award for the best green city in the country, during our time. Now, people want the Congress back in Delhi, so that the transformation of Delhi will start again.
In 2015, Congress faced a huge setback, electorally, after its tally came to nil, in spite of Sheila Dikshit being the face of the party in Delhi. How are you so confident of winning this election?
During that election, the political atmosphere was very different from the one now, because at that time AAP was a force that was born out of Anna Hazare's movement for a corruption-free society and Jan Lokpal Bill. Soon after coming to power, people started leaving the party and some were thrown out because they realised that the party, which was fighting for a corruption-free society was itself entrenched in it. However, this time, people know they are liars and the Congress is the only party which can fight for their rights. We are very confident that we are going to form the government in the state.
Which party do you think the Congress is fighting this election against? AAP or BJP?
We are fighting this election against the BJP and its B team (AAP). They are all one and the same because the AAP was formed by RSS volunteers during the Anna Hazare movement.
Congress has tied up with the RJD on four seats. Don't you think it will shrink Congress' hold over Purvanchali voters, which are considered to be about one-third of Delhi's population?
Congress has a national alliance with the RJD. We have leaders from Purvanchal, but this alliance is a way of showing respect for all Purvanchalis.
AAP is showing its report card, and talking about the work done in the education and healthcare sector. How do you see this?
Congress was the party, which built multi-specialist hospitals and schools in Delhi. All the development Delhi has seen was during Sheila Dikshit’s regime. Arvind Kejriwal is only boasting about the work done during our rule. He had promised to give 500 new schools and universities in Delhi. The number of schools opened is below 10 and not a single university has been inaugurated by their government.
BJP is saying that they have regularised unauthorised colonies. How do you see their claim?
About 40 per cent people living in unauthorised colonies will not get benefit from the central government’s scheme. The BJP promised registration to everybody. Then, why have registrations not been given to people, yet? They just want to deceive people by their ‘jumlebazi’. They are not going to do anything for the people living in those colonies.
Do you think Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) will be vote swinger for the Congress?
CAA is not about taking benefit. It is a very important issue today and the Congress is opposing it since the beginning on every platform. But tell me where is the AAP, why they are not supporting the protesters.
Kejriwal’s main concern is how to be powerful. He has no empathy for Shaheen Bagh protesters. He called Sheila Dikshit a helpless and useless chief minister, but he himself is not going to meet our brave students from Jamia Millia Islamia and Jawaharlal Nehru University. He has no right to be the CM of Delhi because he is not able to provide safety to our students and women.
What schemes and policies Congress has for Delhi. And what is your strategy to counter Kejriwal’s free electricity and water policy?
Congress is coming out with its manifesto within few days. But our main focus is on the issue of water, electricity, and clean air in Delhi. Some of the schemes I have already announced, which include schemes like relief on electricity up to 600 units, free power to run tube wells for farmers. We will incentivise people who save water from their free quota with cashback, For our elderly residents, we will launch a scheme named after Sheila Dikshit to give them Rs 5,000.
The AAP has given its report card to the people, which shows it has fulfilled all the promises it made in 2015
He is a master in fooling people. He has a publicity budget, which runs into crores. It is our taxpayers’ money and was for Delhi’s development before he used it for his own publicity. This CM has done nothing in the past 6 years. He has only accused the previous government and the central government, instead of delivering on his promises. He has also failed to maintain Congress’ development speed. When we got the state from the BJP in 1998 there was no electricity, we provided people with 24-hours electricity.
For getting drinkable water, women used to stand in queues, but we provided water to every household. We don’t make false promises, we do what we promise. We are not like Kejriwal. However, the people of Delhi are going to teach him a lesson this time.