It’s time Gurgaon’s civic bodies are made more accountable, says Congress candidate Raj Babbar - Hindustan Times
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It’s time Gurgaon’s civic bodies are made more accountable, says Congress candidate Raj Babbar

May 18, 2024 06:48 AM IST

The MCG, despite having a big budget, is not working properly and the entire city has problems of poor sanitation, waste burning and garbage disposal. Not even a single kilometre of Metro line was extended in the past 10 years, said Babbar, laying down his agenda for the constituency

Actor-turned-politician Raj Babbar, 71, is a two-time Lok Sabha member and three-time Rajya Sabha member. This time around, he has been named the Congress’s candidate from Gurgaon for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. On the sidelines of his campaign, Babbar spoke to HT’s Abhishek Behl on the response from electorate and how he plans to shed the tag of being an “outsider”.

Raj Babbar during a campaign at Sohna Chowk in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections. (Parveen Kumar/HT Photo)
Raj Babbar during a campaign at Sohna Chowk in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections. (Parveen Kumar/HT Photo)

Edited excerpts:

Why should people of Gurgaon Lok Sabha elect you as their MP?

The people of Gurugram need change, a political representative who is accessible to all and within their reach all the time. In the past 10 years, there has been no development and civic condition is bad across the region, despite having the so-called double-engine government of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). If the people of Gurugram choose me, I will stay in the city instead of putting up in Delhi and work for the people, which has not happened in the past. It is time GMDA, HSVP and MCG were made more accountable to people. Gurugram today wants an MP who identifies with the common man and is not a royalty.

Opposing candidates, including from the BJP, are alleging that an outsider has been roped in by the Congress as there was no local candidate...

Political parties will always level such allegations and this is part of their job. I want to assure the people of Gurugram that I have come here to stay for long and will settle here. You can ask the people of Agra and Firozabad — from where I was an MP in the past — whether I have served them or not. I even helped them during the Covid-19 pandemic and even now, I am accessible to them as I have built permanent relationships.

What are the main problems that need a resolution here?

Gurgaon is a large Lok Sabha constituency with three distinct regions of Gurugram, Rewari and Mewat. In Gurugram, civic and development agencies failed to deliver the goods. The MCG, despite having a big budget, is not working properly and the entire city has problems of poor sanitation, waste burning and garbage disposal. Not even a single kilometre of Metro line was extended in the past 10 years. Local bus stops and Civil Hospital are in poor shape. In Mewat, the promised railway line and canal water have not been supplied even after a decade. The promise of a university has not been delivered, and health care is in a shambles. Likewise, in Rewari, potable drinking water is in short supply in many areas and there is a lack of government schools. All these issues will be resolved if the Congress wins the Lok Sabha polls and the state polls of Haryana in October.

What has been the response to your campaign?

The Congress promised people that democracy and the Constitution, which have been hollowed out by successive BJP governments, will be strengthened. By seeking 400 seats, BJP has caused apprehension that there could be fundamental changes to how the Indian democracy works. We have opposed such moves and our message has gone down well with the people. There is strong disenchantment among both rural and urban voters as Indians are basically democratic. We also assured income to farmers, guaranteed MSP, loan waivers and support for crop loss. Senior citizen stipends will be increased, government jobs will be filled and the atmosphere of injustice against the farming community will end.

How do you view the performance of the BJP and the incumbent MP, Rao Inderjit Singh, who is eyeing a fourth successive term from the Gurgaon constituency?

The BJP and its MP have not supported the people of south Haryana and Ahirwal on the issue of forming an Ahir regiment in the army. They also kept silent when the Agnipath Scheme was launched in the army, and this has upset the people. I support the demand for Ahir regiment. Also, there is restlessness among people over issues like reservations and changes to the Constitution, and this will also impact the ruling party. In urban areas, the failure of civic agencies will count strongly against the ruling party.

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