Legislative Assembly elections are being held in Delhi on February 8, 2020 to elect 70 members of the Delhi Legislative Assembly. The results will be declared on 11th February 2020. The term of current assembly elected in 2015 will expire on 22 February 2020.
The fight in the most prestigious New Delhi Constituency number 40 is the most important and being keenly observed for it being the constituency of present Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party president Arvind Kejriwal. The Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded Sunil Yadav and Congress Romesh Sabharwal to take on the might of Kejriwal.
IndiaTimes.Live caught up with the Congress’ Romesh Sabharwal to know of his plans for the constituency.
IndiaTimes.Live: The first obvious question is about Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal being your opponent. What do you have to say about it?
Romesh Sabharwal: Arvind Kejriwal is an accidental politician. He has no experience of governance and even though he says he is an aam aadmi, very clearly he is not. He claims to be representing the common man (aam aadmi) while he himself has turned himself into a ‘khaas’ individual. He has made biometrics compulsory in Delhi, where does he enter his own? Does he have his biometrics?
The voter of today is very smart and doesn’t fall into the trap of false promises again. Besides knowing his rights, he also knows how to differentiate between right and wrong. The last five years have been an eyeopener for the voter of Delhi. He has realised how he has been fooled into believing that Arvind Kejriwal is working for his benefit, whereas he clearly has not.
Me, on the other hand, am from among the voters of the constituency. Both my parents have been into government service and I very well know of the issues of a service class family. This is my biggest strength that I am not seen as an outsider and have much support of the people of the constituency.
IndiaTimes.Live: What’s your strategy to counter the Chief Minister?
Romesh Sabharwal: Let’s just look at it from the Assembly election perspective alone and treat Arvind Kejriwal as the CM-designate candidate of Aam Aadmi Party. Being an outsider, he is definitely on a sticky wicket as my nomination has given him the jitters.
The reason being that the New Delhi constituency comprises majorly of service class and Arvind Kejriwal has not done anything good for them during the last five years.
He is not a grassroots man. He has exploited the reach of social media to turn the tide in his favour but given misleading misinformation. The list of his false promises is very long, but if we look at the major ones, his plan on mohalla dispensary completely bombed. His party promised upgradation of schools but we have the facts before us. Even though he represents a constituency where a majority of voters is from the service class, no special effort has been made for their benefit.
Besides, his government’s decisions have been against the service class. Arvind Kejriwal has betrayed the Balmiki community. No water meters have been installed, the electricity rates have been increased. The decision of replacing the old mechanical meters with electronic ones is completely wrong as these run very fast and the service class is made to bear the brunt.
Congress government will ensure 0% home loans for a government servant, as we all know having the security of ones own home tops the list. The other important concern is that of medical facilities for a government servant. My party will ensure cashless health insurance and facilities, just like it is in the private sector. I will remove the ban on jobs in NDMC. ‘One job-one house’ is going to be Congress government’s priority and all the government schools will be upgraded.
IndiaTimes.Live: Being an old party worker, were you prepared for the New Delhi seat?
Romesh Sabharwal: It happens only in the Congress that it picks workers for bigger responsibilities based on their commitment to work for the people and not because of any clout. The party has given a chance to a clerk’s son to share its vision and mission. Congress values the service class as it runs the country and the party has always given every local common citizen the right to come and serve the country.
Arvind Kejriwal has tarnished our image all across the world, as he started from the fight for the people through Lokpal Bill and on coming to power, he started working against this commoner.
IndiaTimes.Live: Your wait for contesting the Assembly elections has been quite long…
Romesh Sabharwal: I have spent 40 years with the Congress and worked for it by shouldering different responsibilities. Congress youth wing, NSUI has been my nursery, and through sheer hard work and commitment, I have shouldered many important positions.
Arvind Kejriwal has no experience of politics and has not done anything for the state. He has a ”Degree of Liar Engineering” and by misusing his education, he has brought disrepute to a prestigious institution like IIT. Former prime minister Shri Jawaharlal Nehruji developed the concept of IITs to promote engineering studies so that it could be used for the development of the country. But Kejriwal has brought it disrepute and tarnished the prestige of such a pious institution.
IndiaTimes.Live: You have been NSUI president and a long time worker of the Congress party…
Romesh Sabharwal: I have had the honour of learning the nuances of politics from party stalwarts. I have been groomed by Rajiv Gandhiji as I shouldered the responsibilities of the party student wing – NSUI. Working with and learning from the Gandhi family has made me what I am today. So when you have such a learning, how can the likes of Arvind Kejriwal contest against me?
IndiaTimes.Live: Do you think there is a bigger plan for you in party’s mind in the long term?
Romesh Sabharwal: It is the magnanimity of the Gandhi family that it adopts the party soldiers like their family. I learnt the nuances of politics under the tutelage of Rajivji. If I win by grace of God and the support of my own community, I will make a concerted effort to run a membership drive to add more workers to the party.
IndiaTimes.Live: Which areas have missed the attention of the present govt?
Romesh Sabharwal: Just like any constituency, voters of my area are in need of good education, health facilities, jobs, home and good retirement options.
I intend bringing to the voters zero pc house loan post retirement as having spent all his life in service, we know how difficult housing can be for a government employee. The medical facilities will be streamlined and simplified for the benefit of voters and all the schools of the constituency will be upgraded.
IndiaTimes.Live: Did your campaigning begin now or you have ground work to show to the voters?
Romesh Sabharwal: I have been working for the party under senior leaders Shiela Dixitji, Ajay Makenji and learnt the responsibilities of an MLA from them. I understand the needs and duties of an MLA towards his constituency, state and the country and assure to live up to the trust that my voters will repose in me.
IndiaTimes.Live: Comment on Priyanka Gandhi joining active politics? Has the party strengthened since Priyanka Gandhi joined the party?
Romesh Sabharwal: The Gandhi family has been making huge contribution and sacrifices for the country for decades and generations. As a conscientious Opposition party, our present leaders Sonia Gandhiji, Rahulji and Priyankaji are leading the country to newer heights. The country has not had a leader paralleling the likes of Indiraji. Rajivji carried on the legacy of our very dearest Indiraji, who sacrificed her life for truth and the country. The void created by the loss of Rajivji has not been filled till this day and his two children have rejuvenated the party.
While the party sees Rajeevji in Rahulji, Priyanka exudes the charisma and promise of her grandmother Indiraji. Her joining active politics is being seen as a new