Millennium Post

Make promises that I know I can keep: Gautam Gambhir

A moment of reflection and a singular thought about wanting to bring nationalism and development in India is what made former cricketer Gautam Gambhir join politics and specifically the Bharatiya Janata Party. In a candid interview with Abhay Singh and Abhinay Lakshman of the Millennium Post, Gambhir said he will work towards bringing clean water and breathable air to Delhiites if elected and also bring up issues like the Ghazipur landfill in parliament. Excerpts:

What are some of the issues in East Delhi you are talking about?

Look, the landfill at Ghazipur is a huge issue I want to work on. Other than this, people in East Delhi face a whole lot of problems related to parking, with increasing population and congestion and decreasing land area as a result. I want to work on building multilevel parking spaces to solve this issue. Moreover, I want to find ways to bring a university campus in East Delhi, not unlike the DU North Campus. I also want to work on developing the Yamuna Vihar Sports Complex into a world-class international stadium, which will be a great thing for our constituency.

What areas are you planning to focus on in parliament, if elected?

I want to talk about Ghazipur, because the landfill is a huge issue. Clean water is a very very important problem. People do not get clean water to drink in East Delhi. There's a lot of traffic woes caused due to lack of efficient parking solutions and I want to focus on bringing as many multi-level parking spaces in East Delhi as possible. The basic need in Delhi remains to be improvement of the quality of air that we breathe. So, to try and work on air quality is something that is imperative for the development of my constituency and the city as a whole; and of course clean water. These two are the most important things people need here. These are the things that made me successful in my previous profession. The fact that I had access to fresh, breathable air, and clean water is the reason I achieved what I could in my first profession. These are foundational things we want to work on first and foremost. The rest, I believe will follow.

How has your campaign been so far? What is your strategy?

See, my strategy here is very clear. I've got into this profession with a clean heart and with clean intentions and we will only talk about development and make promises that are achievable and not pander to the emotions of people, which has been a constant theme with members of the opposition here for the last so many years. We will try and promise only what we can achieve. Nothing less, nothing more. Further, I want to clarify that even though my candidature was announced late, my interaction with party workers and people on the ground has been nothing less than heartwarming. I have met so many of our workers and voters here and the response has been great from them.

You're going up against opponents who have campaigned for longer and have a better feel for the ground. What are your thoughts?

Look, I am not going to say things about what my opponents are promising to bring to the people of East Delhi. I don't want to be just another politician who engages in mud-slinging. If I make counter-promises just as an opposing thought, I would not come off as genuine. I am here with a clean intention of doing good and we are making promises we know we can keep. The rest will be available for people to see on May 23.

You are going up against Atishi, yet you want to debate Kejriwal. Why not debate your opponent?

See, it doesn't really matter who I'm fighting against. I believe that the AAP government in Delhi has betrayed its electorate. If Atishi says that she wants to debate me on issues that people of Delhi here face, I say I am prepared to go up against her party's chief. I want a debate with Kejriwal. If he wants to accept, he can and if he doesn't want to then that's his choice.

Why join politics? Why now? Why BJP?

See, I can't tell you the exact date but a few months back, I had a moment of reflection one day and I thought about what I wanted to do with my life. I didn't want to be a Twitter sensation and stick to social media platforms to effect change somehow. I have a young family and I decided that joining politics would be my way of doing something for the people of Delhi. I wanted to get a feel on the ground, see what issues people face and whole-heartedly contribute to bringing progress in my country and state. So that is the day I decided to take the plunge into politics. I was genuinely impressed with what Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done in the last five years and I wanted to join BJP to bring something meaningful to the table.

Finally, why should people in East Delhi be voting for you?

I've come here with an honest heart and appealing to the people to vote for someone who is making promises they know they can keep. Our appeal to people here has always been that we will not make promises that play with the emotions of the people. And that is the reason I believe people will vote for me.

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