“Lack of will [on the part of the Congress ] is the only reason why Delhi is in the state that it is in now,” said Bharatiya Janata Party’s chief ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan, who chose to direct all his energies to painstakingly list all the mistakes and inefficiencies of the 15-year-old Sheila Dikshit government in Delhi. He was speaking at the Indian Women’s Press Corps here on Tuesday.
“Very few people are given 15 years as Chief Minister. And that is not a small time even if you need to radically solve an issue,” Dr. Vardhan said, while explaining the process he had undertaken in the 1990s for the polio eradication programme.
“Ms. Dikshit keeps saying the police force is not under her, but when I was supervising the polio eradication programme we used 52,000 constables and the entire gypsy force to ensure the smooth movement of polio vaccines. The police were also primarily responsible for ferrying children to polio centres, where vaccines were being transmitted,” he said.
Dr. Vardhan said it was time to return Delhi back to Delhiites. “It is a city that has been known for its art, culture and greatness. However, it has been plagued by failures on practically every front for the past 15 years.”
While he personally thought that Ms. Dikshit very “dignified,” Dr. Vardhan added: “She has been laidback on important issues like inflation, corruption scams, inflated water and power bills, lack of clean portable water were only some of the issues faced by the city.”
Highlighting the shortage of medicines in hospitals and stating that there is an acute staff crunch in many medical centres, he added: “The poor in Delhi are the worst hit because of this. Even today they continue to live in unhygienic conditions in unauthorised colonies. The Yamuna is a nallah despite the government spending close to Rs.700 crore. And, despite the Chief Minister being a woman, surveys say close to 95 per cent of women here do not feel safe. My daughter is 22-year-old and I feel extremely nervous when I cannot contact her after 8 p.m. There is an acute shortage of jobs for the youth in the city and most go to Gurgaon, Noida, Mumbai and Bangalore, and even abroad in search of better jobs. Delhi should also have new colleges.”
Stating that whenever elections come around Ms. Dikshit’s talks about development, where she begins her speech with the Metro and ends with the flyover, he said: “The Metro was conceived and started by the BJP government which was in power then. I still remember the bhoomi pujan I attended with [former Prime Minister] Atal Bihari Vajpayee.”
He listed his top three priorities if he gets he top job in the State. “Handling corruption, women’s security and doing something concrete for the youth by creating job opportunities and in terms of making available skill development facilities for them.”