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Lok Sabha elections 2019| ‘I will fix basics in each South Delhi locality’: Vijender Singh

“I will stay away from attacking individuals. I will promise things that are doable. I believe, with time, I will connect better with the people and identify more problems,” said professional boxer Vijender Singh.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Apr 25, 2019 07:27 IST
Abhishek Dey
Abhishek Dey
Professional boxer Vijender Singh, who joined the Congress on Monday, is all set to make his electoral debut from the South Delhi Lok Sabha constituency.
Professional boxer Vijender Singh, who joined the Congress on Monday, is all set to make his electoral debut from the South Delhi Lok Sabha constituency.(Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)
         

Professional boxer Vijender Singh, who joined the Congress on Monday, is all set to make his electoral debut from the South Delhi Lok Sabha constituency, where he will take on Ramesh Bidhuri of the BJP and Raghav Chadha of the AAP.

The 33-year-old Olympic bronze medallist wants to build an international sports facility in South Delhi and improve the quality of life in every single neighbourhood. “The Congress even included the issue of extreme air pollution in Delhi in its manifesto,” he says, promising to fix the “basics first”. Excerpts from an interview.

Q. What made you join politics?

After the BJP came to power in 2014, we have witnessed communal disharmony across the country, Jats fighting non-Jats in Haryana, my own state, Thakurs fighting Dalits in Uttar Pradesh, lynchings in the name of cow and politics of hate. It led me to think that why should I shy away from politics when I am confident that I can bring about a positive change.

Q. But what made you choose the Congress?

A. My way of thinking matches with the Congress’ ideology. The party is secular, believes in harmony and development for all. By the time I was given an offer to join the party, I had already read their election manifesto and that contributed to my awareness. The party’s manifesto is very inclusive. The manifesto included air pollution in Delhi, which affects crores of residents in the city, especially in winters.

Q. What will be your poll priorities?

A. Primarily development, which has not happened under the seven MPs of the BJP or after AAP came to power in Delhi in 2015. I will ensure that each and every locality in South Delhi has access to basic amenities such as water, electricity, schools, healthcare facilities, roads, will ensure safety and security of women and basic facilities for sports and athletics. I will fix the basics first.

Q. Will you continue professional boxing if you win?

A. Yes. And I will also develop an international sports facility in South Delhi.

Q. But how will you attend Parliament sessions then?

A. (Laughs) Parliament debates are no less than boxing matches. On a serious note, I lead a disciplined life and I am confident about my time-management skills.

Q. What kind of a political opponent do you see in the BJP?

The BJP is a master of “spin narratives”. Can they challenge the fact that demonetisation cost people their jobs? Could they resolve the Kashmir issue? Today, they challenge the Congress’ NYAY promise of providing ₹72,000 per annum to the poor. But could Modiji bring back black money and credit our bank accounts with ₹15 lakh?

Q. What about AAP?

A. AAP’s politics is primarily centered around Delhi, and so I think their candidates are strong even though they are a new party. But they too have failed to deliver. Look at Sangam Vihar in South Delhi. The party had kept the residents of the unauthorised colony deprived of basic amenities like roads, water, sewers. Why? What stopped them? They cannot blame the tussle with the Centre for every problem.

Q. What will be your distinct campaign strategy?

A. I will stay away from attacking individuals. I will promise things that are doable. I believe, with time, I will connect better with the people and identify more problems.