Criticised for focusing on local civic issues, Sanjay Nirupam says he is looking out for the common man.
Your opponents allege that your performance as an MP has been poor because you focused on local civic issues when an MP is supposed to look at larger issues.
That is not correct. I have been instrumental in making Borivli railway station world-class and starting a state-run hospital and a regional transport office in this constituency for the first time. At the same time, it is necessary to address small civic issues because they affect the common man the most.
Your hunger strike to reduce the power tariff was seen as a poll gimmick because you chose to raise the issue just before the elections.
You also took up the metro phase II land issue recently though it has been stuck since 2009. We began our agitation when we found there were extra charges on power bills for no reason. Now, the power tariff has reduced and the poor have benefitted. As far as the metro phase II land issue is concerned, I was not in favour of slum dwellers being evacuated for the project. Now, I have asked the government to consider land in Dahisar, which belongs to the civil aviation ministry, for its car depot.
Do you think it will be difficult for you to retain this seat, if you consider anti-incumbency and the Modi wave? Also, the number of corruption cases at the Centre may turn voters away from the Congress.
I don’t think there is any anti-incumbency. Yes, people are not satisfied because of inflation. But the national economy is driven by global trends. The Modi wave is limited to the media only and will not have any impact on voters. I have done many development works in my constituency, which is my strongest point. Not just the Congress, but leaders from all political parties are facing corruption charges.
Why should people vote for you this time?
Apart from basic issues, I have addressed major issues such as modernisation of suburban railway stations. Voters here trust me and my working style.
What are you hoping to do for your constituency if you get re-elected?
I have decided to start a 24-hour free helpline for senior citizens, students and women in distress. I am also planning to install mineral water booths at certain locations so that people get pure water for a nominal charge.
Graphic: Sanjay Nirupam's performance report