Refuting the ruling AAP's demand for full statehood to Delhi, Union minister and BJP's Chandni Chowk candidate Harsh Vardhan wondered whether statehood could be given to a chief minister like Arvind Kejriwal with "dubious and questionable character".
In an interview to PTI, Vardhan, who is contesting for the second time from Chandni Chowk Lok Sabha seat, asserted that the national capital was suffering due to the AAP government's "negative mentality".
He said the Kejriwal-led government has done nothing for the people, except "wasting time in abusing the Prime Minister". "Delhi is suffering because of the negative mentality of its government and the chief minister in particular. They have hardly done anything in the last four years.
You can see their 70 promises and find there is hardly any promise that has been delivered," the minister said. "They have not done anything except wasting their time and abusing the Prime Minister day in and day out. What has Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal done? Nothing.
This is the same chief minister who felt proud in calling himself an 'anarchist' ahead of the Republic Day parade a couple of years ago. "Now he (Kejriwal) is shouting about statehood. Do you think statehood can be given to a chief minister who is dubious and is of questionable character?" he said. The AAP supremo had during a protest on January 20, 2014 in the city called himself an "anarchist".
He had raised the demand of bringing Delhi police under the city government. Vardhan, who holds the portfolios of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Science and Technology and Earth Sciences ministries, also blamed the AAP government for not cooperating in several developmental projects, including the Shahjahanabad redevelopment project. "I initiated the Shahjahanabad redevelopment project a few months after taking over.
The project was also started. Unfortunately, the chief minister (Kejriwal) refused support to the project. I am sure if we have the government in Delhi along with the central government, which we will get next month, we will be able to complete it," he asserted. The project aims at creation of pedestrian-oriented space in Chandni Chowk, seen as a catalyst for revitalising economic, infrastructure and tourism potential of Shahjahanabad.
Highlighting his achievements in Chandni Chowk in the last five years, Vardhan said he gave people Rani Jhansi flyover which was lying incomplete for 10 years. "Look at the Rani Jhansi flyover, it was lingering on for almost 10 years. I took up this project and every 15 days, I used to have a meeting and visit the project site.
When there was some difficulty, I got Rs 86 crore sanctioned from the government to ensure that the municipal corporation does not run out of money," he said. "I also delivered the road at Kishanganj. So many schools have been constructed in my constituency and community centres have been built. Over 200 gyms and 700 play apparatuses have been constructed. Several projects were also sanctioned by Union Road and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari," he added.
The four-time MLA from east Delhi's Krishna Nagar assembly constituency also lambasted the AAP for not providing support to municipal corporations of the city. "Despite the fact that we do not have a government in Delhi, our road and surface transport minister (Nitin Gadkari) got Rs 46,000 crore worth schemes sanctioned for Delhi," Vardhan said.
"Whether it is east and west corridor, or eastern and western peripheral expressway, we have given new metro lines and for every scheme, the government of Delhi is being supported. "On the contrary, despite the massive support the Delhi government receives from the Centre, it does not pass on the same kind of support to the municipal corporations of Delhi (MCDs)," he said.
The senior BJP leader also hit out at the ruling AAP for its handling of 'safai karmachaaris' of the municipal corporations. "You saw how badly people suffered when there was a strike by the safai karmacharis due to non-payment of salaries. They could not get the pay because money was not given by the government of Delhi.
Unfortunately, the rules are such that the Centre cannot directly give money to the corporations and it has to be routed through the state government," he said. Vardhan exuded confidence of a clean sweep, like the 2014 Lok Sabha poll verdict, in the national capital. "I am pretty sure that like last time, we will win all seven seats in Delhi and with better margins," he said.
The incumbent MP from Chandni Chowk will be facing AAP's Pankaj Gupta and Congress candidate J P Agarwal. Delhi will vote on May 12 and the results will be announced on May 23.