AAP’s Sahi Ram promises water, schools and hospitals for South Delhi | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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AAP’s Sahi Ram promises water, schools and hospitals for South Delhi

May 06, 2024 05:24 AM IST

Sahi Ram is currently serving his second term as an AAP MLA from the Tughlakabad constituency, has been active in Delhi politics since 2007, when he was first elected a municipal councillor and then the deputy mayor of the erstwhile South MCD in 2013.

Sixty-five-year-old Sahi Ram (Pahalwan), currently serving his second term as an AAP MLA from the Tughlakabad constituency, has been active in Delhi politics since 2007, when he was first elected a municipal councillor and then the deputy mayor of the erstwhile South MCD in 2013. Popularly referred to as Pahalwan in his constituency, Sahi Ram took a lunch break from campaigning at his official residence in Tehkhand village to discuss with HT’s Paras Singh his plan to contest the South Delhi seat in the Lok Sabha polls. Edited excerpts:

Sahi Ram “Pahalwan” at his office during the interview. (Sanjeev Verma/HT)
Sahi Ram “Pahalwan” at his office during the interview. (Sanjeev Verma/HT)

Q: Why should people of South Delhi vote for you?

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I have been a three-time municipal councillor. I have won independently, two times with BSP and twice with Aam Aadmi Party as MLA. I know well the four types of residences in South Delhi: maximum density of slum clusters, largest unauthorised colonies, rural areas and even posh areas. For the past 26 years, I have been living among the people of slums. I am a people’s person. I know how to get work done in all the areas and people should take advantage of it.

Q: What are the key issues at play in South Delhi ? What would be your priorities if people elect you?

The entire region has only one government hospital, in the Ambedkar Nagar assembly segment. There are more than 22 lakh voters and the area needs more government hospitals. The Delhi government does not have land and Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has been unable to provide land.

My first priority is to secure land for developing more hospitals. Secondly, we made new schools but the region needs many more, based on the population density. Thirdly, the region has a large chunk of rural areas and there is a lot of sports talent, for which we will develop more stadiums. All three issues can be resolved by the central government and the member of parliament.

Q: Many parts of South Delhi face acute water scarcity? What has the AAP government done and how do you plan to tackle it?

Colonies have grown rapidly, two-storey houses have become four-storey ones and water demand has gone up significantly. We need more underground reservoirs in these areas. The old reservoirs need to be expanded as they are unable to meet the demand. We have proposed underground water reservoirs (UGRs) in Harkesh Nagar and Tughlaqabad.

Q: Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal was placed in judicial custody in connection with the excise policy case. Is it leading to an image of corruption or sympathy for AAP? What is the feedback you are getting during your campaign?

It is not a case of corruption. Why has Sanjay Singh been granted bail? Why has the Supreme Court sought response from the enforcement directorate (ED) on the need for the chief minister’s arrest? This is not a sudden development. These people (BJP) have been plotting this for the past two to three years. People should just look at the people, on whose statements CM Kejriwal has been arrested. The same person who testified against the CM was providing 60 crore to BJP through electoral bonds. People of Delhi can clearly see what is happening. They could not find any money and the time when he should be among people, he has been put in jail.

Q: What are your views about your opponent Ramvir Bidhuri. Both of you are from the same Gurjar community. Would this lead to division of vote? Why should people vote for you over him?

I am seeking votes on the basis on my performance and work. I have been an MLA from this area for the past 10 years. People should just look at the work done, my accessibility to people, my daily meetings and the time I provide to my constituency. Just compare it with the Badarpur assembly segment, from where my opponent has been an MLA four times. Compare the development and time he has provided to his people. Vote on the basis on our work. It is a battle of vichardhara(ideology), there is no personal enmity.

Q: The AAP and Congress have been against each other and this is the first election being fought jointly. Is the alliance working on ground? Is there any friction between the workers at ground level, especially after the resignation of Delhi Congress chief highlighting over the alliance with AAP?

My jansabhas (public meetings) are full of people who have a Congress background. I am not talking about other areas but Congress workers in South Delhi and local leaders are working with me shoulder to shoulder. There are no differences. It is a false perception that Congress voters will not vote for AAP. Will they vote for BJP?

Q: There will be assembly election early next year. How long will this alliance remain intact?

This has to be decided by the leadership of Congress and Aam Aadmi Party...but in this age, it is needed, given the way one who speaks against inflation is branded a traitor. The moment you talk about unemployment, you are branded anti-national and put in jail. Why are they (BJP) not talking about the real issues? This a matter of worry for the nation.

Q: AAP fielded Raghav Chadha from South Delhi in the 2019 elections. He has been missing this election. Is he expected to join your campaign in the coming days?

Chadha ji will certainly come and campaign with me. He is currently undergoing treatment due to some issues in his eyes.The moment he gets well, he will join us. Meanwhile, Sunita Kejriwal ji is helping us. She would be campaigning in South Delhi on Sunday.

Q: Your affidavit mentions three criminal cases. How do you see these cases and will they impact your perception among voters?

I will not blame anyone for these cases. There was one case related to a demolition drive. All other cases were fake cases and they have all been closed.

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