The brains behind the successful implementation of free coaching under Jai Bheem Mukhyamantri Yojana and many other social welfare schemes of Delhi Government, Social Welfare Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam is contesting election for the second time from Seemapuri seat. Gautam spoke to The Pioneer’s Gayathri Mani on hosts of issues that AAP is banking upon to return to the power in Delhi.
Do you think Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) kept its promises with the youth that it had made in 2015 election manifesto?
Since day one, AAP has kept its promise and about 95 per cent of the promises made by party have been fulfilled. There are some promises which will be completed soon. More than 20,000 rooms have been constructed in public schools which are equal to 5,000 new schools, new engineering institute Netaji Shubhash Technical University has been opened, new education blocks have been opened in the already existing schools and faculties. There is a proposal to start 25 Skill Development Centre’s (SDC), seven are already functional.
What is your take on scholarships to poor students and free coaching to them?
Jai Bheen Mukhyamantri Pratibha Vikas Yojana, started for the Scheduled Caste (SC/ Scheduled Tribe (ST) students but has already been extended to all the students coming Economically Weaker Section. Another programme has been launched recently for the SC, ST students to study overseas in universities abroad. The online process to apply will take about six month to get completed, so we have started offline process so that more students can avail the facility.
What are the main issues in this election?
Pollution is biggest issue in Delhi. I believe, this issue should not be politicised. Pollution will be curbed, if everyone comes together because it is crucial matter which is affecting everyone be it a member of BJP, AAP and common man. Centre and Municipal Corporations is led by BJP and Delhi Government is with AAP, irrespective of one political agenda, we should come together to curb pollution in the national capital.
Seemapuri is underdeveloped area and crime is a major issue here? Do you think Delhi Police has been successful in maintaining law and order in your constituency?
First of all, it is not underdeveloped. All the colonies except few streets and slum clusters are developed and are authorised colonies. Sewer, electricity and water pipeline are laid down including slum areas and sewer lines has been laid wherever is possible. The biggest issues in my constituency are snatching, theft, pick pocketing and selling of narcotics. The area is situated in border and theft incident is increasing and our initiative of CCTV installation has helped to controlled many incidents. But the police have done nothing, I submitted many representations and met both DCP and LG but no action has been taken to curb criminal activities in the area.
What are the promises that you want to make to your voters?
My promise is to make my constituency free from traffic congestion, pedestrianisation and waterlogging issue will be addressed. In the last five years, the police have not done much to curb drug menace in the area. This time we will involve public and take their suggestions to curb such incidents. Adult education will be provided for the drop outs and seminar and counseling will be provided for youths to lead a good life and focus on education.
Do you think AAP Government has done enough than any other previous Government regarding social sectors especially reaching out to the weaker sections?
If you see, the developmental and infrastructure work done in the authorized colony in the last five year, no government has done such work and initiatives. About Rs 8,000 crore have been spent to lay road, sewer and water pipeline in the hundreds of un-authorised colonies. Free coaching under Jai Bheem, Free Bus ride, CCTV is a historic initiative brought by AAP. Sewer cleaning machines to curb manual scavenging and initiatives to clean septic tank by Delhi Jal Board is also in process. No Government can compete AAP in terms of development.
How do you see the demolition of the Sant Ravidas Temple? You blamed BJP why?
Because, the BJP hurts the sentiments of the people by demolishing the ancient temple. When we protested, it allowed 400 meter plot but why it first demolished the temple by hurting the sentiments of people? The opposition did it on purpose to create unrest in the society.
How will the party perform in SC/ reserved seats? You replaced one from Bawana.
The performance of the party will be good and the party will win all the seats. The candidate Jai Bhagwan Upkar who has been given ticket from area is also a strong candidate and has been a counselor. No leader is replaced without a reason; the party sees the work done, takes people suggestion, conducts survey and decides. I welcome the party’s decision and the party will perform well in all the reserved seats. Out of 70 seats, 68 plus is expected.
What is your opinion on NRC and CAA, because Home Minister Amit Shah said people who oppose it are Anti-Dalit?
First, the NRC and CAA is planned move by the BJP to imapct Jharkhand and Delhi elections but it is BJP which will be losing voters. They demolished Saint Ravidas temple. During the protest against the protest, dalits were beaten and arrested and yet they call others anti-dalit. PM Modi says there will be no NRC and Shah says NRC will be initiated. People are scared of NRC more than CAA. There is no need of NRC and CAA. The people who are protesting are Indians not outsiders. BJP wants to take away the right to vote of people, if NRC is amended then dalits, minorities and labour class will be largely affected as they do not have papers to prove their citizenship. About 80 per cent of the people do not have papers and they will be called as refugees and their fundamental rights will be taken, thus CAA and NRC are anti-constitutional acts which should not be amended. It is a tool to divide Hindus and Muslims. Why BJP always creates unrest in the country during elections?