By when will your candidates be finalised?
We have divided Delhi into 14 districts and are speaking to heads of units. We have formed a new team, for which the Delhi prabhari is (Defence Minister) Nirmala Sitharaman. Apart from this, there are prabharis and sah-prabharis for the seven constituencies. The idea is to get feedback from everyone on the performance of MPs. This is a secretive process. The results of this feedback process is given to the Central Election Committee. The process is almost over — we are hoping the names will be declared by March 14.
BJP, at times, changes its candidates to fight anti-incumbency. Is that possible in Delhi this time?
(Laughs) This usually happens when ground-level feedback is poor and public image of a possible candidate suddenly sees a decline. In Delhi’s case, there are no problems with anyone’s work. There might be a few behavioural issues, but there aren’t any problems with anyone’s work.
Which candidates have shown behavioural issues?
That’s not for me to say. The CEC will go through feedback and decide best. Things like respect are always important.
The BJP and Congress have demanded full statehood for decades now. AAP has made the demand its poll plank. What is your stance now?
(Chief Minister) Arvind Kejriwal has been the biggest enemy of statehood for Delhi. He sat on dharna outside Rail Bhawan with Republic Day celebrations around the corner (in 2014). That day, it was clear to everyone that giving statehood to Delhi was a bad idea. If a chief minister is going to stop the Prime Minister, the President and foreign dignitaries from going about their work, how will the country function? Statehood won’t be on our manifesto anymore.
What will be on the Delhi unit’s manifesto?
National security is crucial. We want NRC (National Register of Citizens) to also be done in Delhi. There are thousands of illegal ghuspethiye (intruders) in Delhi as well. Their population has reached an explosive stage. People from Bangladesh and Pakistan are coming and settling down in Delhi. The second issue is that of unauthorised colonies. We can’t just sit around and see people in such misery.
What’s your take on speculation of an AAP-Congress alliance?
We aren’t focusing on it too much. Our focus is on our initiatives and policies such as Ayushman Bharat and reservation for those from EWS category… If the two parties come together, our vote share will increase as people will feel betrayed.