BRT is a futuristic concept: Sheila Dikshit
CNN-IBN's Anubha Bhonsle and Vinod Sharma, political editor of the Hindustan Times newspaper, discussed this with Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who is trying for her consecutive third term.delhi Updated: Nov 21, 2008 20:49 IST
One week to go for the elections in Delhi. Will it be the price rice, terror attacks or the infrastructure or transport that will be riding the minds of an average Delhiite?
CNN-IBN's Anubha Bhonsle and Vinod Sharma, political editor of the Hindustan Times newspaper, discussed this with Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who is trying for her consecutive third term.
Anubha Bhonsle: Is it possible to isolate Delhi as a state election? Is it possible for Sheila Dikshit to convince the people that when the terror attacks happened, the government is not the only one responsible or when the police is unable to catch criminals, it is the Delhi government which is solely responsible?
Sheila Dikshit: I think I don't need to convince them about anything. People, who know about governance, very clearly (know) that law and order doesn't come under this particular government. It is the (Delhi) Police Commissioner who reports to the Home Ministry and to the Lt Governor of Delhi.
Anubha Bhonsle: You have been ruling Delhi for about 10 years. In the first term, a lot of development was seen in terms of infrastructure and people could feel it themselves. Many development works were the fruits of Madan Lal Khurana's work. What concrete steps have you done in your second term that you deserver another third consecutive term?
Sheila Dikshit: What makes you think or what makes you say that the development the city witnessed was the fruits of Khurana`s work. They (Khurana's BJP government) were there for a very short term and there was instability. All their ideas were in files only. It is possible that we worked upon some of their ideas, but then what is wrong in taking the idea if it finally results in welfare of the people.
Vinod Sharma: The 1998 elections were won by the Congress under a new leader: Sonia Gandhi. The 2003 elections came as a result of the rivalry, which Madan Lal Khurana faced within the BJP. So is this the first time you are doing your own campaign and facing a real election as Chief Minister? Can we say we are having Sheila Dikshit versus the BJP?
Sheila Dikshit: I would like to disagree with you a little bit. In 1998, when I came, there was separatism and I was an outsider. Secondly, there was an onion-potato sarkar (government). Then in 2003 we were told that you have done a decent work and our government was re-elected by the people. I would also like to tell that there is no resistance against me within the Congress-(there is) no dissidence in the Congress. There are aspirations; after all who would not like to be the CM.
Audience question: How much has been the BRT corridor system successful in congested Delhi roads?
Sheila Dikshit: First of all I would like to say that the BRT is there on only about 5.5 km of the total 400 km roads. Secondly, BRT is a futuristic concept. It is an addition to the current road system. It aims to give space to all: from cyclists to motorcycles to cars and trucks. It is systematic and we always re-look at it on how to improve further so that there is no hue and cry.
Vinod Sharma: Delhi roads can be improved and disciplined by a CM who is not angling at a second term and is ready to chop a leg by taking some tough decisions.
Sheila Dikshit: I would like to differ. Our government has always been on the chopping block, be it CNG, be it Metro or power privatisation. We have taken chances and implemented upon them by keeping people with us.
Audience question: A lot of time of went on sealing unauthorised colonies and de-sealing some? The government has been on both sides. What side does the government actually support?
Sheila Dikshit: We are very clear about it. There are about 40 lakh people living in such type of colonies, (so) we can't make them homeless. Definitely we have to legalise the illegal, so that those people also live a dignified life. There was a PIL (public interest litigation) and what demolitions were done was as per court orders.
Segment 2 of show on law and afety in Delhi
Audience question: How can women be safe, as there are accidents happening in broad daylight? What are the safety rules concerning women? There are a number of thefts, car robberies and other crimes even in the safest colonies. You have said that law and order does not come under you, but then who do we look up to for concrete results?
Sheila Dikshit: Well, I would not like to put forward any excuse. I can feel the problems of the Delhiites and I think police have taken keynotes of the issues and will surely come up with a way which will not solve the issue temporarily but also actually help residents of Delhi.
Audience question: Does a women Chief Minister think that women are being adventurous when they are out of their home for work. I was shocked at the way the government commented on the murder of a women journalist (Soumya Viswanathan).
Sheila Dikshit: I think the word adventurous is being used out of context. I expect when girls are moving out of their house at 2 or 3 in the morning they are being escorted by someone. Maybe (by) an employer, co-worker or a family member. To such a problem there is always a shared responsibility.
Vinod Sharma: The police don't even register cases, which they consider trivial, but the cases actually hurt the people of Delhi.
Sheila Dikshit: I won't say I feel embarrassed but I am definitely deeply touched by the problems of the residents of Delhi. I would like to tell the people that they should feel Delhi is safe for them, especially for girls, and nobody should call Delhi as the crime capital of India.
I think that people who vote on November 29 are intelligent enough to feel the difference themselves. The quality of life of people has definitely increased manifold and I promise them that our sincere efforts for the betterment of Delhi will always be there.
Thank you all.