I'm a people's man: Arvinder Singh Lovely
While BJP and AAP have strategised their campaign in a way to bring out the big guns in the last days of campaigning in Delhi, Congress' East Delhi candidate Arvinder Singh Lovely has decided to stick with his formula of engaging with locals on the ground in more intimate settings. In an exclusive interview with Abhay Singh and Abhinay Lakshman of the Millennium Post, Lovely said he is a man of the people and will forever work towards making himself accountable to his electorate. Excerpts:
What is your campaign strategy like?
See, my strategy is simple. My campaign focuses on locals on the ground. I am not relying on Twitter and social media platforms for reaching out to voters in my constituency. I have been to every part of East Delhi and nobody can say that a single part of the constituency is untouched by me. I am a people's man and I want to be with the people and work for them. I am an insider who knows this constituency inside and out, including all of its problems.
Coming to problems, what are some issues in East Delhi you are focusing on?
Public transport systems in East Delhi have collapsed. The phase-III of Delhi Metro that I sanctioned during my tenure as Transport Minister has been held up. It was supposed to be completed by 2015, but not even 20 per cent of work has been finished there. Moreover, I will also focus on environmental issues. Every time, data on pollution is released, Anand Vihar terminal comes at the top of most polluted areas. There is also the issue of over-dumping at the Ghazipur landfill site. These are the real issues people here have to deal with.
One of your opponents has had more time to campaign and the other is a well-known face. What do you think of your competition?
Look, I say that my opponents have come here for political tourism. They contest half of their elections on social media as they failed to hit the ground. Despite having a longer time to campaign, they do not seem to be engaging locals on the ground to campaign with them, for them. Wherever I go, I campaign with the locals and I go on three to four rounds every day, meeting voters. My opponents have been campaigning for this one election, I am not here for that. I am here campaigning for the people of East Delhi.
What are some of your poll promises for this year?
Firstly, I want to focus on strengthening the public transport system in East Delhi along with working on environmental issues. There is a monorail project in East Delhi, that I sanctioned in 2012. That plan was scrapped after the new government in Delhi came in. I want to see that getting started up again. Secondly, there is an iron bridge in the trans-Yamuna area that needs a lot of work, maybe even replacing. The bridge is completely depleted and that requires urgent attention. Thirdly, there's the Ghazipur landfill site, where garbage dumping has continued despite orders for it to be stopped. The landfill site has been filled way beyond its capacity and that is a problem I have been trying to address for a while now. Now that I have brought it to notice, AAP has added it to their manifesto.
What is the first thing you want to work on if elected?
See, the number one priority for me would be availability. There are so many politicians who disappear after they win and I believe my opponents will turn out to be part of that group. I am here for the people of East Delhi. I believe in being accountable to the people who elect me. If I am not available for them, my electorate will not have a chance to hold me accountable to whatever poll promises I make.
How do you plan to tackle increasing petty crimes in East Delhi?
There are already laws in place. These kinds of crimes have gone somewhat unchecked because of MPs not taking their duties seriously. The Member of Parliament chairs the police committee in their respective districts. It is important that MPs take an active interest in the workings of these committees. We need to focus on women's security and policing. So, I believe controlling such crimes is about having a hands-on approach when it comes to day-to-day monitoring. Policies are already there. Laws are already there. Only thing is to see that policing is done at the right level when it comes to the complaints received. This can be done only by a person with experience in governance. Here again, my experience will come in handy.
Why should people be voting for you this time around?
See, what I am getting at is why people should not vote for me. I am on the ground meeting locals, listening to what they have to say, and actively interacting with them. There are at least two-three families in every street that I know on a personal level. Further, I bring a 20-year experience in governance with me. In contrast, my opponents do not have any background and show a lack of experience. I ask, why should people vote for someone who does not know East Delhi or its people?