By Anand Singh
New Delhi, May 1 (IANS) Cricketer-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir, who is BJPs candidate from East Delhi Lok Sabha constituency, says he entered politics because he wanted to implement what he has been tweeting about.
Gambhir, a left-handed batsman who pursued cricketing career for about 15 years, feels politics is also going to be an exciting and challenging field.
The 37-year-old former opener of the Indian cricket team faces the challenge of retaining the seat for the BJP from where the party’s Maheish Girri was elected in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
He has to fight it out with Congress’ Arvinder Singh Lovely, a three-time MLA, and Aam Aadmi Party’s Atishi.
“I don’t want to be someone who keeps on tweeting on every issue in the country and then forgets about it. I am someone who is different. I am someone who takes that plunge and does something what I tweet about,” Gambhir told IANS.
“There are two kinds of people — one who tweet about everything and the other who want to tweet and try to go on the ground and implement those (ideas). So, I feel that I have taken the other side and I have the courage to do it,” said the former player, who has been very active on social media, mostly tweeting about the nationalistic issues.
He said from the cricket field, he brings accountability, integrity and honesty with him in politics.
Asked about how he saw the contest against Lovely and Atishi, he said he does not believe in fight against any other candidate. “I believe in fighting with my own self.”
Contending that he focuses on how to push development, he said, “I think on how quickly we can deliver and fulfill the promises we make to the people.”
About the electoral prospects of the BJP, the newly-inducted member said, “I am sure the entire country knows that this country needs a strong leadership, a decisive leadership and a leader who has the vision to make this country a super power. So, I am sure that you are going to get to know this on May 23 (when results come).”
He said a lot of governments in the past had the opportunity to come out as a strong political party and strong leadership but they couldn’t.
“So if the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) has taken two strong decisions in the first five years, then we have to give credit to him,” Gambhir said, referring to the cross-LoC surgical strike of 2016 and the air strike on Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot in February this year.
He said there a Modi wave still exists in the country as a lot of development works have taken place in the last five years.
“And it’s not just the wave, the promises have been delivered in the five years and that is why the people have trust in the BJP and the Prime Minister,” he said.
When pointed out that AAP and the Congress have been accusing the Modi government of not delivering on its promises, Gambhir said, “They do not have the vision for development and this is why they keep on leveling allegations on everything.”
He went on to add, “People, who have the vision and those who want to bring about development, will never indulge in negative politics and that is why the BJP is different than any other political party.”
Asked to comment on the issues like sealing of unauthorized constructions being raised by the Congress and full statehood demand by the AAP, the BJP candidate said, “I think the city needs to be like Delhi. It cannot be like London or Paris. First, we need to make Delhi a proper Delhi with proper clean air and drinking water. Those are the basic needs of the people.”
He said these are the promises the BJP has made to the people.
“Till the time you give them the basic requirements and infrastructure, I don’t think other things can be achievable,” he said.
Commenting on the sealing issue, Gambhir said Union Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has done a lot of work for the people on this.
“We have tried our best to get relief to the people of the national capital because we don’t want that any household or business is hampered in the city. We want to give solution to everyone,” he said.
Earlier, a household with five people and five KW power was legal, he said, adding “10 people and 11 KW of power has been made legal, which has given a lot of relief to the people.”
When asked about his priorities for his constituency, he said, “First of all, I would try to get a campus of the Delhi University in east Delhi.. I shall also focus on the parking issue. I would like to propose multi-level parking system in east Delhi and also will try to find a solution for Ghazipur land fill site and try to get the metro to Kondli.”
Slamming the AAP, Gambhir said, “People have taken four and a half years and could not deliver… People who have something to give they don’t take four and half years.”
When referred to goof-ups in the permissions required for his road show during campaigning, the BJP candidate said, “There are small things and soon these things will be resolved. And these things should not be made into a big issue.”
Asked about his earlier remarks that he cannot fit in any administrative jobs, he said, “This is how I am going to be and I don’t need or want to change. I am straightforward. I have a vision and I want to develop Delhi. I am Delhi-born and I am connected to the city.”
Gambhir, who was known for his aggressive batting, was asked if a similar style of his could be seen in Parliament if he is elected. “I don’t know. It depends. Unless it’s required, I think honesty is important more than aggression in this field,” he replied.
On his vision for improving the quality of education in the government schools of Delhi, he attacked the Aam Aadmi Party government of the city. “AAP has believed in camouflaging of schools. It has believed only in improving the quality of infrastructure instead of focusing on the quality of education and best teachers,” he said.
“It is not about painting the wall and having a swimming pool. It is about having education and the quality of teachers. And for me is the top priority and then everything is going to take the back seat,” he added.
On fee hike by private schools every year, Gambhir said, “This is an issue which I need to think about. It is too early for me to talk about it.”
Asked whether his prospects would have been better if his candidature had been announced earlier, he replied, “I don’t think so. It’s fine. Whatever days you get, it’s fine. Whenever you have to give back to the city one week is enough.”
Elections on all the seven seats in the national capital is scheduled on May 12 in the sixth phase.
(Anand Singh can be contacted at [email protected])