Our manifesto is a Holy Book of the Delhi Government: Dilip Pandey

By Tanzil Asif and Sneha Dipika for TwoCircles.net,

As Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) completes one year in government after a thumping win in Delhi elections and people have started to scrutinize its work, Dilip Pandey, the official spokesperson of the party critically talks on various issues in an interview with Tanzil Asif and Sneha Dipika.

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It has been one year since AAP came to power. What do you think has been the biggest achievement so far?

People’s belief on us has grown stronger in a year. Achievements are both tangible and intangible. In politics, if you lose an intangible asset like the confidence of people, all your tangible assets go worthless. So, yes we have enjoyed a strong confidence of people and this has been the biggest achievement so far. Now, if you ask me about the tangible achievements, it would be very difficult to name just one. The manifesto of our party, which was there even before we came to power, is the Holy Book of the Delhi Government. We are working along those prescribed guidelines. Meanwhile, the cabinet of our government, the CM, everyone stood like an ‘insulated wall’, braving the hurdles and machinations by the Central Government. We stood between the machinations and people’s welfare. This is going to continue. We ensured that our promises actually get delivered. Electricity, water, we have ensured everything. Apart from this, there were historical achievements, works which were done on a large scale. For the first time a project was completed under-budget. Not one, not two, but three. This became a norm under AAP Government. We have a long list of achievements.

You have several achievements to your credit but is there anywhere you went wrong? Is there something you regret?

That we learned last time ‘not to resign’ come what may. (Laughs)

Why are you now silent on DDCA Scam?

Now, the case has gone to the Court. Let me simplify things for you. Dozens of FIRs were not being lodged under DDCA Scam. Then, we received a notification by MHA directing us to investigate the boxes in Kotla as something is wrong there. We formed a commission to conduct an investigation. This commission was declared ‘null and void’. Then the Court intervened. The S N Aggarwal Commission stated that the Court would not take a coercive measure but it would continue working. The Gopal Subramaniyam Commission is very much valid now, legally. The public identifies us as the strongest voice against corruption so we aimed to live to their expectation. DDCA comes under Delhi Circle. So if there is corruption involved we have to expose it.

They were doing vendetta politics with raid. You did reverse vendetta?

No. You might not know. The timeline goes really back. The entire issue started in May 2015. We received some documents. People from DDCA came with those documents. ACB which used to be under the Delhi Government then has now gone under the Central Government. As soon as this came in the knowledge of the Central Government (the documents), they immediately appointed a corrupt officer on a post over and above the topmost post of ACB and took it under its wings. So, the entire issue roots to that time. The timing of the raid is interesting as well. They came to know that there is someone from DDCA who meets Delhi Government regularly and some documents, some stories are being ‘cooked up’ under the Government. So, this was an excuse to get those documents. This was pretty evident from seize memo by CBI. Moreover the Court also said that the documents are irrelevant in historical judgement.

MCD Workers are on a strike. Is there a solution to cut this short? Firstly, you are not introducing the Fourth Pay Commission. Secondly, you keep talking about elections. What are the chances that it would be AAP and not BJP who would come to power if elections happen? What next if that happens?

The people of Delhi gave a permanent solution by clearing the garbage from Delhi’s Politics. Now, MCD is lead by BJP. BJP is indulging in politics of garbage. This garbage will be cleared off as well by the public when they give a permanent solution in the forthcoming election. There is no other solution. In electoral democracies, solutions come through electoral process and not anarchy. Petitions were filed and Court had countered MCD that it is not performing its duties. Government agencies always have some obligatory functions. MCD’s obligatory function is sanitation and cleaning. This is defined in Municipal Act. Delhi Government can’t do anything. This has to be done by MCD and MCD alone.

Isn’t this overconfidence when you say that it’s only AAP who would return to power?

It is evident that BJP is unable to govern MCD. So, this should be dissolved and there should be re-election. Currently, Delhi Government is under the influence of recommendations of Third Pay Commission. The recommendations for the Fourth Pay Commission came in 2012-13. At that time it was scrapped by the Sheila Dixit led government. BJP came to the power and governed Delhi, indirectly, through LG but did nothing about it. BJP and Congress should tell that why didn’t they do anything. Now, coming back to what we did. We forwarded the relevant parts to the concerned people and tabled the part which was relevant to us, in Delhi Legislative Assembly. It is impossible to implement that without tabling it. On record, we stated that we are ready to implement the recommendations of Fourth Pay Commission in totality but this is impossible until and unless we get a consent by the MCD and Central Government. We are ready to implement it as it is but there are certain complications. However, the BJP government have their own conditions. Problem is page no. 247, section 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 say the Urban Development Ministry will transfer control of DDA to the Delhi government. When DDA will come under Delhi government, the government will take responsibility to bail out the local bodies from financial constrains.

So, you want DDA first?

Give it to us today; we will clear all the dues by tomorrow. DDA has Rs. 1,600 crores outstanding. BJP says the issue is subjudice. When the case was filed, it was Congress at the centre. When MCD needed money, it made a claim. BJP was there in MCD. When there was Congress at the centre and BJP in MCD, the case never moved forward. Now, it is BJP on both the spots. They could come to a common solution but now they don’t say that they want DDA’s money. This is hypocrisy.

When is the Odd-Even formula making a comeback? A lot of suggestions are pouring in. So, what kind of suggestions will you welcome?

The suggestions which would trigger a bigger impact would be welcomed. We’ll always keep a larger public interest in mind. A lot of ideas and suggestions have come to us and we are analysing it.

(Later announced, Odd-Even rule is coming back on April 15)

When will Delhi get a Wi-Fi?

This is very interesting. Global implementations on a large scale have been studied and reports have been prepared. We have also done pilots in buses and other mediums. The learning of these pilots has been included under the terms and conditions of tender documents. Those documents are about to float. So very soon we’ll see that.

MCD doesn’t come under your government. However, you had participated with great enthusiasm in ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’. The areas around Lotus Temple, Akhsardhaam Temple and Bangla Sahib are squeaky clean but the area around Jama Masjid is dirty and unhygienic. Why is it so?

We are always ready to participate in good welfare policies and campaigns by the Central Government. We expect them to reciprocate those feelings but that doesn’t happen. Still, we go on. In Delhi, the roads measuring above 60 ft come under PWD and are maintained by the Delhi Government. Roads leading to Jama Masjid are all less than 60 ft and are maintained by MCD. Where there is MCD, there is garbage.

Why are you spending a lot on advertisements? It’s a huge escalation from Rs. 20-22 crore to Rs. 500 crore.

This is a misinformation. File an RTI to find out the budget of their ads. Delhi Government had allocated a budget of Rs. 526 Crores. In a year only Rs. 30-40 crores were spent in total. If you find a rise in ads it’s because they are

strategically positioned.

Your government and Central government are always at logger heads. So whom do you have a problem with – The PM or Modi?

We don’t have any animosity with him. We try to abstain from his ill-intentions. We have ideological differences. Government is a welfare society. That should not get hindered. So there should be no political revenge.

Arunachal Pradesh has come under President’s Rule. CM Kejriwal has said that this can happen in Delhi as well. Why do you think so? You have 67 MLAs? Can they be bought?

Constitutional Crisis is always ‘created’. The problems in MCD aren’t ‘by chance’; they are there ‘by design’. What happened in Arunachal is not by chance, it’s by design. BJP is taking a vendetta from all those places where it has lost. They are seeking political vendetta.

Who is your CM face in Punjab Election?

We are not looking at that. We are aiming at reaching out to everyone and uniting people.

Two of your MPs are against you. Isn’t that a problem?

The entire Punjab is with us.

Does it hurt that Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, Anand Kumar left AAP?

They say,

“Hum wafa karte rhe, wo jafa karte rhe

Apna apna farz tha, dono adaa karte rhe”

You have written two books, Dahleez Par Dil and Khultein Girhen. Three more are to come. How do you make out time?

Writing keeps my originality alive. My political activities provide me inputs for my pen. That is necessary as well.