Two-time Member of Parliament from the New Delhi Lok Sabha constituency and former Sports Minister Ajay Maken talks to Mohammad Ali in New Delhi amid the tight campaigning schedule.
This time you are up against Ashish Khetan of the Aam Aadmi Party and Meenakshi Lekhi of the BJP. Who do you think is your main challenger?
I am fighting this election on the basis on my works. I have a long list of works which I have done as a Transport Minister in the Delhi Government and as a two-time MP of this area, also as Urban Development Minister and Sports Minster in the UPA Government. Even after this, if you still talk about your opponent then it means you have nothing to take credit for. I tell people that I have served them whenever they have given me the opportunity.
You are confident of retaining the seat even when the Congress failed to open an account in the ten Assembly segments in the polls last year. What is the reason behind your confidence?
See, the situation has completely changed in the last four months. In the meantime I have tried to work on the reasons we lost in this area in the Assembly polls. As part of the New Delhi Municipal Council, I took the initiative of giving the status of Regular Muster Role employees to contract workers who had grievances against the Congress.
As part of the Central Government I took the lead in the proper enactment of the Sixth Pay Commission and set up of the Seventh Pay Commission, which was the only commission formed without any noise in recent history. We also gave two back-to-back DA allowances of over ten per cent. This has resulted in improved pay for government employees, which form over 30-35 per cent of voters in this seat. And I also upgraded over 90,000 government flats.
For slum dwellers, which are not many in my constituency, I conceptualised a rehabilitation project on the model of Kathputli Colony redevelopment project. For street vendors, I ensured that they get a legislation protecting them.
And most importantly, there has never been single accusation of corruption against me in my entire public life.
What have been your main challenges during the course of this campaign?
The only challenge was to communicate my achievements. I agree that our government could not properly communicate our works to the people.