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We will ensure direct funds from Centre to MCDs: Manoj Tiwari

Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari says though AAP and Congress governments choked the funds flow to BJP-ruled MCDs, they were able to deliver parks and better schools. He said Narendra Modi represents his party’s zero tolerance to corruption.

delhi Updated: Apr 19, 2017 09:16 IST
Parvez Sultan & Vishal Kant
MCD election,MCD polls,Manoj Tiwari
Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari at Hindustan Times office on Tuesday. (Burhaan Kinu/HT Photo)

The BJP has been in power for 10 years in municipal corporations. Both the terms were riddled with allegations of mismanagement and corruption and workers’ strikes. Why should the people give you another chance?

It is Delhi’s misfortune and BJP’s as well. It is a fact that BJP is in power for 10 years, but it was unfortunate that either Congress or Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was in power in Delhi. It is also true that municipal corporations are autonomous bodies but they get funds through the state government. AAP and Congress have played politics and not release funds to the civic bodies.

Delhi’s total budget is Rs 48,000 crore. Of this, Rs 9,000 crore should have been allocated to the municipal corporations. But they received only Rs 2,800 crore. Still, we developed parks, initiated English-medium education in municipal schools, replaced streetlights with LEDs and built a medical college. CCTVs are also being installed in schools.

Political opponents are challenging you to name one outstanding achievement of the municipal corporations in the last 10 years.

The MCDs have improved the conditions of parks. If Arvind Kejriwal will visit the municipal parks regularly, his cough will be cured.

Your manifesto says the Centre will send direct funds to civic bodies. Why didn’t you seek this intervention last year when sanitation workers were on strike and Delhi’s roads were littered with garbage?

Yes, we will put a system in place that MCDs should get their funds without any obstacles. The sanitation workers went on strike as they didn’t get salary (on time). The state government should understand their pain.

If the MCDs have really performed well despite adverse conditions, why did the party deny tickets to all sitting councillors?

We have raised our bar after 2014 (when Modi became the PM). They (the councillors) should have performed better. Though corruption charges are wrong, we have in fact, promoted few councillors. They have been made general secretaries. Also, grassroots workers should be rewarded, so we introduced new faces.

What new will the BJP do if it comes to power in the MCDs for the third term?

We will ensure adequate funds to municipal corporations and effective solid waste management. In the coming years, we will recycle garbage and produce electricity. We will make Delhi a dhalao-free city. Just by being in the municipal corporations, we can’t claim that we will make Delhi a world class city. But over next one and half years, you will see a completely different and better city to live in.

I want you to end this constant fight between the Delhi government and MCDs. You vote for BJP and let us win the assembly election. And under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we will be able to do all this in four years.

In municipal elections, you should be focussing on local issues. But you are talking about Modi and nationalism. Many say you are running a negative campaign.

(Narendra) Modi is our policy. Narendra Modi is the name of our policy on zero-tolerance to corruption and non-performance. That’s why we take his name. The question of negative campaign should be put to Kejriwal. See their posters. They say that if BJP wins, water and power tariff will go up. I think he is threatening people of the city. How can BJP in municipal corporations increase the water and power charges?

What plans does the BJP have to curb corruption in civic bodies?

After November 8 (demonetisation), is there any doubt about it? The BJP is the biggest enemy of corruption. Building department is den of corruption (in MCDs). Corruption actually originates from the state government. But if its representative—the SDM---does not allow unauthorised colonies to come up, there will no corruption at all.

We will change the rules if we come to power. We will make adequate provisions to punish the guilty. We want Delhi government to come forward. If they support us, well and good. We will make rules so that a common man can build a house and get proper facilities like sewer lines.

How are you tackling infighting in your party?

We said no sitting councillors will be allowed to contest. A few of them had filed nominations. We have expelled them and they will not be taken back. No compromises will be made. Those who are honest and dedicated will be rewarded appropriately.

Is your appointment as Delhi BJP chief anything to do with party’s strategy to win support of Purvanchalis?

We, Purvanchalis, believe in Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. This is the only formula. When I was made party chief, there was a feeling that Manoj is from within us, let’s support him. That is right, this may bring votes but we are not fighting for this. The challenge is bigger. We want to reveal the transformed character of the BJP, post 2014. We want votes on the basis of our work. We don’t want to divide people. This time, we are committed, we will make some changes.

First Published: Apr 19, 2017 00:00 IST