Poonam Mahajan, the BJP’s candidate for Mumbai North Central, speaks about the election battle for what is considered a ‘safe’ seat for the Congress party and the issues that cut across socio-economic groups in the constituency.
Priya Dutt is the sitting MP and North-Central has been identified as one of the safest seats for the Congress. What do you think will happen in the elections?
Everybody will fight to win. I don’t know what is safe. I mostly bank on what my people have got and what they have not got. I am giving my 100 per cent to help them get what they deserve.
Your constituency has a wide range of issues and socio-economic groups ranging from the richest to the poorest. What are the common issues you have identified in your constituency which you plan to address that cuts across these boundaries?
Most importantly, Mumbai is the country’s financial capital and we think of it as an international city. But when we actually look at it, is it really an international city? In the past 10 years especially, development of infrastructure, roads, housing, everything, has been lacking. The city generates the highest revenue for the country and is not getting back its due. My agenda is to work on more investments for Mumbai to ultimately achieve better living standards. I believe this city needs an involvement from the federal structure. We need amendments in a few Bills.
Primarily we should upgrade the infrastructure, including the local Mumbai trains and stations which are the city’s lifeline. In the next rail budget, Mumbai should get the maximum allocation with sufficient funds for the suburban boards. Secondly, we need to get on with rehabilitation. Apart from a few MHADA colonies, we are seriously lacking. We need to rehabilitate slums, it’s not that we can’t do it. It is just lack of will.
You are a resident of South Mumbai and it is believed that you initially wanted to contest from here. However, you are now contesting from North-Central, so what are you doing to grasp the issues in the constituency?
Let it be known that I never wanted to contest from South Mumbai and I am a Mumbaikar who has spent half of her life in this constituency. If a person in Kandivali can work in a Nariman Point office, I really don’t understand why I cannot contest from North-Central.
You are the richest candidate from Mumbai.
Whatever is with me, I have shown in my affidavit. I am being honest.
Why should North-Central vote for you when they haven’t seen you achieve anything concrete for them?
I agree. People have not seen my work as a representative but they have seen the BJP work as a team. I am a part of this team. I am not saying vote for me — I am saying vote for a person who has a vision for the progress of our country. I have continued…