Satish Upadhyay, the sitting municipal councillor from Malviya Nagar, has taken over the reins of Delhi unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party at a time when the Capital is staring at a possible re-election after the Assembly polls in 2013 returned a hung house. Also, with the party wresting power from the Congress at the Centre in a landmark victory and winning all seven Lok Sabha seats in the Capital, Upadhyay says his main task would be to rid the city unit of infighting and improve the image of the party-ruled three municipal corporations. Excerpts from an interview:
From a municipal councillor to the head of party’s unit in Delhi. How do you see your elevation to this post?
Ours is a democratic party where everyone is judged by their work. I am an ordinary worker coming from a non-political family. I’m grateful to the national leadership, including Rajnathji and (Arun) Jaitleyji for recognising my work. My job is to ensure that the entire cadre works together in meeting our goals.
Delhi is under President’s rule. Are you going to stake claim to form the government?
It is too early to comment on this. But all options are open and they will be explored to ensure we do what is best for Delhi. The decision will be taken by our national leadership, we on our part will consult all our MLAs. I have just taken charge so things will become clear in a few days.
The civic bodies had been labelled as the most corrupt. Being a councillor yourself, how are you going to change this perception?
There is definitely a need for introspection. But at the same time, the municipal corporations have done a lot of good work which has not been highlighted. A number of services are now provided online for greater transparency. We are also training the councillors in the nuances of media and public dealing.
What are the challenges that you need to overcome?
We have to win the trust of the people and simultaneously expose the corruption during the Congress rule and the misrule by AAP. We will not take anybody lightly. While the Congress paid for corruption, the AAP lost credibility by abandoning the people mid-way. Now, our primary job would be tell the people that this inflation has been inherited by us from the previous UPA government. We need to convince people that it is only the BJP which can give good governance to Delhiites.
What are your priorities?
Women and young people would be given greater responsibility in the party. Former CM Sheila Dikshit made hollow promises about making Delhi a world-class city. But we will realise that dream. We will revive ward committees to ensure people’s participation in local governance.
There have been allegations of infighting in Delhi BJP. Are you going to change the party set up?
We will do whatever is needed to strengthen the party even if it requires making organisational changes. I firmly believe in evolving a consensus before moving ahead. I will soon meet all the party councillors, MLAs and MPs to iron out differences, if any.