First priority is to legitimise unauthorised colonies: Parvesh Verma
According to his schedule, a regular campaign day for BJP West Delhi candidate Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma begins at 6 am and he seems to be covering a lot of ground, and fast. In an exclusive interview with Abhay Singh and Abhinay Lakshman of the Millennium Post, Verma spoke of his campaign strategy, why he thinks he will be re-elected, and his vision for West Delhi. Excerpts
How has your campaigning been so far? How are you reaching out to voters?
It has been really great so far meeting voters from all around. All people, from all segments here, want a Narendra Modi-led government once again. See, my basic idea is to go to all the places I can and reach out to as many voters as I can. I have covered all the villages, all the colonies, and I'm reaching out to the urban population as well. We just got 15 days to go around our constituency, so we are doing whatever we can accomplish in the limited time. Roadshows, public meetings, and nukkad sabhas are a large part of our campaign. We are also planning for big rallies in the last three-four days of campaigning, where we expect Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, our National President, and two-three more, senior popular leaders.
What's the first thing you plan to do as a parliamentarian if you win again?
My first priority is to find a way to legitimise unauthorised colonies in Delhi. See, our government already has a plan in this regard. The Urban Development Ministry came up with a proposal to solve this problem three months ago. The road map for putting the plan into action is being drafted at this point. So, within six months we believe we will be able to bring that plan to the forefront. This should have been something that the Delhi government took responsibility for but we have now taken it upon ourselves to get it done.
The AAP candidate here has had considerably more time to campaign and Congress' candidate has won this seat before. How do you see your opponents this time around?
Firstly, the time of Aam Aadmi Party's candidate announcements is of no consequence whatsoever because their candidate here has no party background, no political background. And, there are rumours that I've come to hear that he has bought his way in. Secondly, let's talk about my opponent from Congress. Even though he has been elected from West Delhi previously, the people here can't even name a single work of his that has brought benefit to them. This is despite his party being in power both at the Centre and in Delhi at the time. He had 100 per cent powers and authority, which I didn't have during my five years.
What are you promising to achieve in the next five years, if re-elected?
So, first things first: I want to work on finishing the projects that I have already started in the last five years. My first priority will be to get those completed and launched. Moreover, my plans for a West Campus here is progressing very well. The Ministry for Human Resource Development and the Central Government have approved the campus project which is to be constructed in Roshanpura. Delhi University has a 20-acre plot of land for university purpose and by the end of my next term, the West Campus will be ready and operational. Further, I'll be focusing on the issue of traffic congestion. I've been planning for new road maps, new flyovers, and new underpasses. So, I'm working to de-congest my constituency as far as traffic goes. And lastly, I want to find ways to considerably curb air pollution in my area.
What have been your crowning achievements in the last five years as an MP?
There are a lot of things I could say I'm proud of. The India International Convention and Exhibition Centre in Dwarka, which is a nearly Rs 26,000 crore project coming from the Central government and has already finished 30 percent. The first phase of the project is set for completion by December 2019. In addition, I have worked to get three stadiums built in my area: one at Dwarka Sector 17, which is a DDA-led project; one at Kakrola led by the MCD; and one at Madipur, again led by MCD. Further, we have opened 12 new community centres worth a total of around Rs 80 crore across our constituency through DDA. In addition, six more of these are in the works. When I was elected in 2014, there was President rule here. So, in the Delhi budget we presented to Parliament, our government had set aside money for a 1700-bed hospital in Dwarka, which is set to start operation by end of this year. And there was a long-time demand from the people of Najafgarh for a hospital there for which I got Rs 100 crore sanctioned from the Central Government. The 100-bed hospital will have everything from general medicine to major operations and ICU facilities with 10 percent of the work done and OPD facilities starting by February 2020. Moreover, I've used Rs 26 crore of the MPLAD funds available to me for building around 650 open gyms in parks and starting several medical van services.
What have you done for women's safety in your constituency?
Firstly, we identified all the dark spots in our constituency and lit them up. We put up lights there and we have almost covered all of the dark spots in West Delhi. Second, there were police stations taking care of very large jurisdictions in the West. So we got three new police stations opened here (one in 2017 and two in 2018) to ease the load and cover the area more efficiently. Other than this, we have made sure that police patrolling, barricading, and checkpoints are increased as well.
Finally, what is your appeal to voters? Why should they vote for you?
I have a simple appeal. I am honest; I have never let anyone tarnish my image; never been involved in any kind of corruption. I am 100 per cent devoted to my work and I don't do anything other than this. Moreover, I have managed to achieve whatever I promised to do in 2014. Despite the fact that I had no support from the Delhi government, I still fulfilled whatever I could. I have worked with the Central government and the Municipalities to push for whatever work I could achieve in the last five years and that work is there, out in the open for everyone to see.