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‘People are fed up of Dikshit and it will reflect in the polls’

Neelam Pandey, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 08, 2013
First Published: 00:56 IST(8/11/2013) | Last Updated: 01:00 IST(8/11/2013)

Former Delhi BJP chief Vijender Gupta has been pitted against chief minister Sheila Dikshit and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal for the prized New Delhi seat. In a candid interview with HT, Gupta talks about his plans and promises to put up a tough show.

Isn’t it a political hara-kiri to contest against Dikshit, considering Vijay Jolly, who fought against her the last time, has not been accommodated this time?
I am more surprised with the strong reactions it has invoked. Scores of party workers and well-wishers have asked me this question. Apparently, everyone was expecting some other name. It was all part of the process. The way the Congress was behaving and looking at the anti-incumbency factor, the party wanted to give a strong message by fielding a candidate who has always opposed her poor policies.

Both you and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal are taking on Dikshit on similar issues. How will your campaign be different from his?
He is a non-serious candidate and there is no clarity on what he and his party want to achieve. I don’t consider him a threat at all. The fight is only between the BJP and Congress. As far as New Delhi constituency is concerned, there will surely be a big fight but only between Dikshit and me. Dikshit is a poor performer. Look at the state Connaught Place (CP) is in even after spending crores of rupees. CP is visited by people from across the world and it is in a shambles all because of the chief minister and her ill-conceived plans. Price rise, corruption and security are the main issues that I will highlight.

You were earlier trying to get a ticket from Rohini or Shakur Basti. But that has not been done. Are you upset?
Everyone gives several options and I had given too. But when I was asked about contesting from the New Delhi seat I accepted it immediately. I have taken it as a challenge and I know I will win with a clear majority. There is tremendous amount of anger among the people and our aim is not only to defeat the Congress but to defeat the CM too.

Your name has come as a surprise. Was it a last-minute decision?
Everything is part of a process. The idea was to give a tough fight to the Congress. People are fed up of Dikshit and it will reflect in the elections. Dikshit had even filed a defamation suit against me and was fined for it. It simply shows the frustration of the party. For 15 years, I have fought against her, whether by complaining to the Lokayukta, or exposing the scams in the Commonwealth Games.

Are you now going to shift base considering your residence is in Rohini?
Our party office is in New Delhi constituency so it is not a new place for me. I will have my own election office within a day or so. New Delhi is my home now and I will work for the people who have reposed their faith in us.

What was your family’s reaction?
I shared the news with my wife first and then broke it to others. Needless to add, she was elated. “Good luck! You must win”, were her only words.

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