‘There is no sympathy for AAP over Kejriwal’s arrest’ | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times

‘There is no sympathy for AAP over Kejriwal’s arrest’

Apr 26, 2024 06:02 AM IST

Harsh Malhotra, the BJP candidate from East Delhi, says he will go ahead with a positive agenda of development for the constituency

Harsh Malhotra boasts of 34 years of experience in politics. The former councillor and EDMC mayor, is a general secretary of the Bharatiya Janatar Party’s Delhi unit. Malhotra says he is from East Delhi and knows the problems in the area . For Malhotra, the former councillor from Welcome ward, this is the stint in parliamentary elections. In an interview with HT, the BJP candidate from East Delhi says that he will go ahead with a positive agenda of development for the constituency and ensure the benefits of the central schemes reach the electorate in the constituency. Excerpts from an interview:

Harsh Malhotra, BJP candidate from East Delhi (Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo)
Harsh Malhotra, BJP candidate from East Delhi (Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo)

What will be your priorities if you win the elections?

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Since I was the mayor from East Delhi, I am aware of the problems and issues in this parliamentary constituency. Many bigger and landmark development works have taken place here due to the efforts of the central government. For example, the construction of the Delhi Meerut Expressway, helped ease traffic congestion in the area as well as decrease pollution. The Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) and the Akshardham-Dehradun expressway, which is nearly 70% complete, are also in east Delhi.

I am of the view that all jhuggi clusters in East Delhi constituency should be rehabilitated under the “Jahan Jhuggi, Wahin Makan” scheme of the central government. In Dilshad Garden area, 4,000 flats should be built in place of three slums – Kalandar Colony, Deepak Colony and Dilshad Vihar – under the scheme. The notification for the project was issued just before the elections were announced. This project will start immediately after the elections.

Cleaning the Yamuna, which is our cultural heritage and associated with our religious sentiments, is another priority for me. Unfortunately, the Delhi government has done corruption in the name of cleaning the Yamuna. The central government released 3,000 crore to them. The government did not use them for Yamuna rejuvenation as the river is still polluted.

The Arvind Kejriwal government had announced construction of 500 schools, 20 colleges and 20 hospitals, which they have not done. With the help of the central government, one university has come up in east Delhi. I plan to get a big central hospital constructed in this area. It would be a long-term project, but it will be achieved.

The residents of Vasundhara (Enclave near Mayur Vihar-3) have been demanding Delhi Metro connectivity in their area. As their area links Noida, they also demand a flyover. I will try to fulfil their demands.

People in the constituency had complained that the sitting BJP MP was not accessible?

A person’s credibility moves along with him. I was born here (east Delhi). I have a 34-year-long political career and have stayed among the people of east Delhi throughout my political journey as a councillor, a mayor, and the chairman of education committee of EDMC. People still remember my interactions with them, the work I did. Despite being a celebrity cricketer, Gautam Gambhir took up several projects and he finished them all. For example, the Ghazipur landfill removal project is solely the responsibility of the Delhi government and the MCD, but they did not do it. Due to Gambhir’s initiatives, and help from the central government, the height of the landfill has been decreased by 15-16 metres over two and a half years. Since he is busy with his commitments in cricket, he withdrew from active politics .

AAP has been calling Kejriwal’s arrest unfair. Do you think there is a sympathy wave? How do you plan to counter it?

It will be wrong to say that is a sympathy wave for Kejriwal or his party (AAP) due to his arrest. The liquor policy that they [AAP] formulated and implemented was later withdrawn. If the policy was fair, why did they withdraw it? For two years, we have been protesting that instead of opening three liquor shops in a municipal ward, open two schools. They wanted to open 850 liquor shops but failed to construct five schools against their promise of opening 500 schools in the city. People still remember it. He (Kejriwal) is arrested because of his own deeds. He evaded eight ED summonses since October. If he was innocent, why did he not appear before ED? The public is aware that he is involved in a corruption, so he won’t get any sympathy.

Your opponent Kuldeep Kumar is a sitting MLA from Kondli. What is your view on the contest?

I have been visiting Kondli not just because I am contesting the Lok Sabha elections. I have been going there for years. People are angry with Kuldeep. They complain about his misbehaviour. If you go there, you will find heaps of garbage on roads. The roads are broken. He has done no development there.

Do you think that AAP-Congress alliance poses a challenged to the BJP in Delhi?

If I talk about the Congress, it is a party whose ancestors sacrificed themselves for the freedom of India. But the same party has fielded Kanhaiya Kumar, whose nationalist credentials are questionable. Internally, the party is not in support of AAP. The volunteers of the Congress are unhappy and some even expressed their anger against the nomination of Udit Raj and Kanhaiya Kumar through a recent protest.

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