'BJP is the only option for good governance'

Upadhyay says party has a blueprint for revamping govt agencies if it wins

Satish Upadhyay is at the helm of affairs of the BJP in Delhi and is hoping to pocket the credit, along with his core team, if the saffron party returns to power in the city after 16 long years.

As he is strategises for that elusive majority in Delhi Assembly, Upadhyay says he is not waiting for the existing favourable public opinion to swing the polls towards the the BJP.

Instead, he wants to convince the voters that a BJP government is the best suited for the city. “We are telling people that supporting the BJP means ushering in a different level of development,” says Upadhyay.

On why voters should support the BJP, he says, “There have been so many hollow promises over the decades but there is no permanent solution to the water and power problems.”

“The Congress could not tackle many issues during its 15-year rule, the AAP failed miserably in 49 days. But we will give permanent solutions to the problem,” he says.
  
“The AAP offered free water and cheap electricity in a temporary manner by taking money from Plan head. It did not make budgetary provisions. Our party’s central government has now made budgetary provisions in the Delhi budget to augment the water infrastructure and boost power availability,” says Upadhyay.

“The Congress had its own party’s government at the Centre but did not look at a permanent solution to meet the power shortages in the city. It too took the easy route to give subsidy to consumers.” He also has a blueprint for revamping a number of government agencies if the BJP forms government in the capital.

The Public Works Department, which Upadhyay blames for poor state of the  roads and other transport-related facilities will be revamped. “The Delhi Jal Board and the public distribution system, which has lost its relevance, would also figure in the reworking of the projects that we plan.”

Upadhyay says the party’s manifesto will also unveil a grand plan to change the way people see government institutions like hospital and schools.

“Every government  hospital or health facility and school will be benchmarked under ISO standards,” says Upadhyay.

The BJP wants to raise the standard of government schools to such a level that people start craving for admissions in them, he says.

Other issues that may figure prominently in the party’s manifesto include steps to boost safety of women and senior citizens.

The big promise that Upadhyay is holding out for residents of the 1,600-odd unauthorised colonies includes a legal status to all such colonies which came up before 2014. He feels the rivals have a habit of targeting the BJP-ruled corporations with allegations of inefficiency and corruption.

“Every word that the rivals say is not truth. But yes we admit there are problems and the civic agencies are moving towards sorting them out,” he says, blaming the previous state governments for the complications.

The civic agencies’ powers were restricted and artificial power crunch was created to slow down their works. “Sanitation works suffered due to lack of funds. Now we have decided to release funds for such works even in unauthorised colonies.”

The BJP chief, himself a councillor, is not willing to commit anything on a possible rethink on the trifurcation of the civic agency.

“Every decision has its pros and cons. If the trifurcation brought in better efficiency, it also created financial problems for some of the civic agencies. We will see what best can be done,” he says.

Upadhyay is diplomatic in identifying the BJP’s main rival in the coming midterm Assembly polls. “For us all rival parties are a challenge,” he says, refusing to pick either the Aam Aadmi Party or the Congress as the main challenger.

As seen earlier, the AAP is always keen to rake up the issue of corruption and inefficiency in the BJP-ruled municipal corporations. Upadhyay disagreed that his party will be on the back foot due to the civic agencies’ performance.

“A general atmosphere is tried to be created to vilify the corporations. When I took over as party unit chief, I said we will try to sort out problems to improve efficiency of the civic agencies. We are moving in that direction,” he says. “But let me put things in perspective and tell you that today many of the problems affecting the corporations are a creation of the Congress and the AAP.”

Asked about the party’s decision to face the polls without a chief ministerial candidate, he says, “This is the strategy followed in all the state elections.”

On the change in the Union ministry portfolio of Harsh Vardhan, the chief minister’s face in last Assembly election, he says, “I do not see any reason for making an issue out of it.”

Was the shift from the Union Health Ministry to the Science and Technology Ministry a demotion for Harsh Vardhan? “Why should it be seen that way at all,” Upadhyay says, refusing to even see the development as an indication of a possible return of Harsh Vardhan to Delhi politics.

“As an MP, Harsh Vardhan will be part of the BJP team which will try and win the Assembly polls. There is nothing beyond this that can be said.”

“Kiran Bedi as a possible BJP chief ministerial face in Delhi is also mere speculation,” he says. “Her name was being thrown up by some media persons but I do not see any substance in the speculation,” he says.

For the BJP, Muslims have always been a very difficult group of voters to win over. But the Delhi BJP chief says the young Muslim voters are gradually  acknowledging the positives in the governance model of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “The Muslims will back us in the elections.”

About the recent flare-up in Trilokpuri, he says, “Rumours were spread to show our party in bad light. The Aam Aadmi Party legislator in the area did not make any efforts to douse the communal fire and later started blaming our leaders.” 

He talks about M S Dhir, Speaker in the dissolved Delhi Assembly who quit the AAP and joined the BJP.

“Dhir’s confidence in the BJP establishes that our party is the only organisation which can give good governance,” he says, hinting that the party has been approached by leaders from the AAP and the Congress. 

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