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Thursday, August 18, 2022

‘I personally believe there are many things left to do in the city’

Eyeing a fourth term,the CM is anxious but confident. Excerpts from an interview with D K Singh and Apurva

How would you react to what Narendra Modi had to say about your government at his rally here?

I feel he has no knowledge about Delhi. To say that Sheila Dikshit does nothing but cuts ribbons… you cut ribbons when a project gets completed. He has no idea of the administrative set-up of Delhi. It is a Union Territory and the capital of the country. The whole face of Delhi has changed. Modi says there is no electricity in Delhi and the Prime Minister has to use a generator. The PM and all VIPs have it for security reasons — in case there is an outage.

Modi alleged corruption in the Commonwealth Games destroyed the honour of the country…

I am proud of the CWG. People who did something belonged to the IOC and they went to jail. Nothing was found against the Delhi government. The CAG and Shunglu Committee asked some questions and we answered. It was one of the best Commonwealth Games and it was appreciated everywhere. I would certainly like to defend my country’s honour.

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The BJP hasn’t declared its CM candidate so far…

This could be an advantage and disadvantage,whichever way they look at it. I have not been declared (as CM candidate). I should not be either. We don’t declare. Just because I happen to be there,the assumption is that I will be there. Last time Sushmaji had become the CM and so,the assumption was that she will be the CM if the party (BJP) had won. Unfortunately,the party had changed the CM three times. This time,we are going to the polls with me as the CM.

Many a time,your government has faced flak for the failure of Central government agencies. How do you see such factors playing out in this election?

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Yes,I must admit… for instance,the police. If the police perform badly,it comes on me because the perception is that this is the local government. They think dengue is taking place because mosquitoes breed here. We get the flak,not the Central government. But,there is a difference and people know that.

You got a lot of flak for the gangrape incident last December…

That’s what I’m saying. I got the flak for not doing anything but my government put up fast track courts. Nobody else did it. These courts had been sanctioned. I requested (Sushil Kumar) Shinde saab to come with me and request the then Chief Justice to establish these courts.

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Do you see women’s safety and security becoming an election issue here?

I think there is a sense of better police administration now. Police are also doing a lot. We have started this 181 number and we have got more than four-lakh calls since January. I believe a lot of states are trying to copy this service. Now,we are planning some vans also in case someone has to go to hospital. Our duty is to create a support system and do what we can.

Do you think price rise will affect voting behaviour in Delhi?

Tell me where there is no price rise. Across the country,there is price rise. We,as a government,were responsive enough to say that yes,whenever there was price rise,we took action. Two-hundred trucks are moving across the city,selling onions at a reasonable rate. If it was a Delhi-specific thing,that could be a problem. But,this is happening everywhere.

How do you hope to beat anti-incumbency of three terms?

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People will decide eventually. Whether anti-incumbency will prevail or the comfort feeling of having a government in these 15 years,which has done so much. And we have reached out in two ways — what you can see and what you can feel. You are getting pension,jan aahar,anna shree,school education and so on. We have a good track record.

You have been the CM for three terms. Can you list three things you wanted to do but have not been able to?

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It’s an ongoing process. We started the Metro but can’t say it’s finished. Everything has to go on. Population keeps increasing; challenges become bigger. I personally believe there are many things left to do,like toilets for women across the city. As a civilised society,we must have this. This is just one example and our manifesto will spell it out better.

The BJP and AAP,they are raising the issues of electricity and water. They say tariffs are too high,water supply is not regular…

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Thirty per cent cheaper (power),that’s what the BJP is saying. We are supplying the cheapest power in the country,even compared to Gujarat. We give subsidies to people who need it. I am not going to give it to people like you and me. Another thing,if you want to reduce power tariffs by 30 per cent,you simply have to supply 30 per cent less power. Like in a newspaper,if you find that two-lakh copies are not being sold,you will cut down one-lakh copies or whatever,so that there is no waste. If you get 30 per cent less power,the bill will come down by that much.

How do you look at the Kejriwal phenomena in Delhi politics?

Is he political? What is his track record? He went to Anna Hazare. He left. First,he said he is only against corruption and is not part of any political party. But now,he has a political party. Every voter is going to ask what you (AAP) stand for and what you are going to do. On auto-rickshaws,you have survey polls,saying 41 per cent people want Kejriwal,20 per cent want Sheila Dikshit and others want Vijay Goel. What is your vision? Who will vote for you? What are you doing? What does the AAP stand for?

So,you don’t see them as a factor?

I won’t say that. But,I certainly don’t see them as someone who will be a threat. You live in Ghaziabad,where there are power problems. Why don’t you agitate there? In his rallies,he talks about Lokpal. He says if voted to power,AAP will bring in the Lokpal within 15 days. Then he talks about power,water and inflation. At the local level,the BJP is saying the same things. We already have a Lokayukta here. People in Delhi do not suffer from water problems. In affluent colonies,people use drinking water to water their trees and clean cars. There is a lot of wastage; we have to evolve.

First published on: 08-10-2013 at 01:51:33 am
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