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Beautification of slums, markets & roads on our radar: Pankaj Gupta

A person who has always work in the background of strengthening the AAP, Delhi's Chandni Chowk constituency candidate of the party Pankaj Gupta talks exclusively to Sayantan Ghosh on the issues related to roads, congestions, slum developments and the fight against BJP heavyweight Dr Harsh Vardhan. Excerpts:

What are the issues you are focusing on in Chandni Chowk constituency, which is one of the oldest in Delhi?

I have categorized the issue in two ways one is a larger issue and the other one is micro issues specific to this constituency. The larger issues are mostly connected with our key demand of the full statehood. People here are facing problems with unemployment, women safety and higher education among many others.

But this is a larger picture throughout Delhi. Now if we talk about the constituency here the numbers of trader communities are high and they are facing huge problem due to sealing. On the other hand, the youth has become disoriented due to lack of job which is giving rise to antisocial activities.

This also has many slums and unauthorized colonies where beautification should be done. Lastly, the traffic congestion in the areas of the market is so bad that people face many problems to commute. I will work on each and every issue but beautification of slums, roads and markets would be a priority.

This constituency has areas like Matia Mahal which is Muslim Dominated and also a large section of caste minorities are there, do you think this is an advantage for AAP?

I want to clarify that our party never believed in religion and caste centric politics neither we will ever do such politics. The work of the Delhi government has always been for every section of people and poor people have always been our key focus irrespective of their religious and caste identities. The advantage which I really have is the work done by the AAP government and people acknowledge our work across the spectrum. After we win this election we will continue such works in Delhi.

Till the last week the AAP-Congress alliance talks were going on and this seat was one of the seats which Congress asked for. Were you ready to give up the seat and how did this affect your campaign?

I must agree that there was a lot of anxiety within me. But, firstly the party chose me to fight this election and I am always ready to follow the decision of our leadership because the alliance had a larger point of view which we all agreed to, hence, I never had any problem. When the alliance talks were on my prime target was to continue with the campaign and I never allowed any demotivation to the workers. We kept doing our work in full swing and that is why today also the campaign here is going as expected and there is nothing less we have done because of the alliance talks.

In this election, you fighting against BJP's Dr Harsh Vardhan who is a sitting Cabinet minister and also Congress party's JP Agarwal is a veteran politician so how tough is your fight because you have never been a very vocal politician?

Yes, my work at the party was mostly in management from the background. I have also handled three states like Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka. In Goa party also did well in the election. In Chandni Chowk Harsh Vardhan is big name so as JP Agarwal. But here the fight is between big names and good works so I am confident. The BJP did nothing in the last five years.

You are one of the richest candidates of the party, how is that benefitting you?

We are not fighting this election in our own money but the money assigned by the party. The party has always gathered money from donations and good will of people. My own money can be an added advantage but I am fighting just the way any other candidates are fighting.

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