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Modi Cabinet reshuffle: PM, others are watching us, we can’t afford to not perform, says Vijay Goel

Vijay Goel joined the Union Cabinet as a Minister of State on Tuesday.

Written by Pragya Kaushika | New Delhi | Updated: July 10, 2016 1:16:49 am
Vijay Goel at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. (Source: Express photo by Neeraj Priyadarshi) Vijay Goel at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. (Source: Express photo by Neeraj Priyadarshi)

He may no longer be in the running for the Delhi BJP chief’s post, but Vijay Goel, who joined the Union Cabinet as a Minister of State, Tuesday, tells that he will always keep fighting for issues pertaining to the city.

You were a minister in then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s NDA cabinet and now you are a minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet? What do you find different this time?

These are different times. Our Prime Minister has a vision and we have to implement the policies he has initiated. There is Jan Dhan Yojna, Start-up India, Skill India and policies for the girl child. We have to work towards implementing these policies in our respective constituencies. It feels good to have new challenges and responsibilities.

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The PM has reportedly told ministers that they need to put in more hours at work. How are you preparing to fulfill your responsibility as a Minister of State in the Modi cabinet?

The PM has a mantra: don’t stop working. There is no scope of any rest. I have been brought up in an environment where I never stopped working. Even when I didn’t hold a post in the party, I worked for Delhi. In today’s time, if you have to stay relevant, you have to work round the clock. The Prime Minister and other party leaders are keeping a watch on us. We cannot afford to not perform.

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How are you planning to deal with your new responsibilities and continue working for Delhi?

I have been brought up in Delhi and it is my home. Fighting for Delhi and addressing its issues is my passion. I have been working a lot on many heritage sites in the city, but that is not publicised. I have also met the Delhi University Vice-Chancellor and urged him to give priority to students from Delhi during admissions. I take up an issue if it resonates with me and do not give it up till it reaches its conclusion. The people of Delhi believe in me…

Do you think you are still in the race to become the Delhi BJP president?

No, I do not think so. I have been appointed a Minister of State in the Union Cabinet and I have to focus on the work and responsibilities at hand.

You have said you will cooperate with the AAP government in Delhi, but MPs of your party have complained that none of the ministers in the AAP government respond to their calls, and that’s why work gets stalled.

I have met many AAP leaders in the last one month and told them that if they had a problem, they could tell me and I would help them cooperate with the Centre. Now that I am a minister, I will cooperate with them. They should let go of the politics of confrontation. Abusing the Prime Minister will only lower people’s opinion about them. I have a suggestion for AAP: they should learn from their falling graph in the municipal by-polls. They are harming themselves with this negative attitude.

What is your opinion on the AAP government’s tenure ?

AAP has digressed from the path it started on. They won a majority after promising development, but nowadays they are doing everything except development works. If any of their officers gets arrested on charges of corruption, they should cooperate and stop blaming the Centre over it. When the Prime Minister was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, he did not go to other states and abuse the Centre. Rather, he focused his energies on development works and that contributed to his stature….

You defied the AAP government’s odd-even policy during its second round. What do you think of the scheme?

I don’t think the odd-even scheme will make a comeback in Delhi, people have rejected it. My defiance was not against the scheme but against the expenditure of Rs 100 crore which was spent on ads to promote it.

Do you think the hoardings outside your bungalow, which feature the Prime Minister, had anything to do with the decision to include you in the Union Cabinet?

Everyone knows that I am a doer… and… the vision of Modiji has been put on those hoardings.

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