Maninder Singh Dhir, the former Speaker of Delhi Assembly, recently resigned from Aam Aadmi Party and joined the BJP. In an interview to OneIndia, the former AAP MLA from Jangpura spoke at length about reasons to part ways with AAP, his political journey so far and also told about his plans for the upcoming assembly polls in Delhi after joining the saffron party.
Here are the excerpts of the interview with MS Dhir:
I entered politics with an aim to end Congress' misrule, corruption by forming a stable and honest government. For this purpose I associated myself with Arvind Kejriwal and joined AAP and contested in polls. AAP formed a government in Delhi by asking the people of the national capital but within 49 days the party shied away from its responsibilities and resigned from the government. My faith in the party started declining from very day. Later on Arvind's (Kejriwal) behaviour and growing ambitions forced me to take the ultimate decision to quit from the party.
Why did you join the BJP and not any other party?
I started my journey of doing service to the people of Delhi by joining the BJP. I have my roots in the BJP and after joining BJP, am back to my home. I took a break from BJP by joining AAP but now I am back and will work for the people of Delhi.
I joined AAP to defeat Congress in Jangpura, which has been the party's stronghold for the last 30 years. Not even a councillor apart from Congress won from this constituency (also happens to be his home constituency). Hence when given a ticket from a new party like AAP, I readily accepted the challenge and ended Congress's history.
It was only after February 14, the day when Kejriwal announced the government's resignation, I came to know about the leader's real intentions and decided to resign.
What according to you is AAP's credibility at present and what are the party's prospects in the upcoming polls?
AAP's credibility has reduced to 'zero'. The people of Delhi feel cheated by Kejriwal and there is no possibility for AAP to make a comeback in the state in the upcoming polls. The party will not be able to make it to double a figure mark in the forthcoming polls. They played with the sentiments of the people of Delhi and the voters will give them a fitting reply for the same.
Why do you think so?
I think so because Kejriwal's government did nothing what it promised to the people of Delhi. We got 28 seats and formed the government but due to Kejriwal's arrogance we left the government. We promised so many things including Jan Lokpal Bill, reducing power and water tariffs, safety of women and children, but nothing was delivered to the people.
A few days ago I went to Paris and London where I met several AAP supporters. They too are not happy with the party. They are still angry with the party for quitting from Delhi government.
No one including the sitting MLAs was consulted before quitting the government. There is no more internal democracy in the party. The power wrests in two hands Arvind (Kejriwal) and Manish (Sisodia).
But Kejriwal's this year's poll campaign says 'we delivered whatever we promised'?
What did they deliver? Was the Jan Lokpal Bill passed? No. Are people of Delhi paying less for power and water bills? No. People of Delhi paid less for power bills for how many days? Are they still getting the benefits of AAP government? No.
Is every area in Delhi getting water supply daily? No. Are women and children safe in Delhi? No. Then how can one say that his/her government has delivered. Had the party not resigned in arrogance and continued serving the people I would have said that the government has fulfilled what it had promised. This time they will be taught a lesson by the people for playing with their sentiments.
Is Modi-wave still dominant in Delhi?
Modi-wave is present in the entire nation and Delhi is not untouched by it. BJP is going to perform exceptionally well in the polls. The party will get 55+ seats in the 70-member assembly this time. Congress and AAP will have to fight for the second place as the 'broom' is no more united.
Are you contesting Delhi polls?
It is upto the BJP high command to decide. I am noone to comment upon this but whatever role the party gives me I'll accept it wholeheartedly.
You ended Congress' 30-year-old record of not losing from this constituency. Don't you think you'll be a better choice for you are sitting MLA and also held the important post of Assembly Speaker?
Well, I can say it is in the hands of an experienced party leadership to decide. I am sure my experience in this particular constituency will certainly be brought under consideration while distributing tickets.
Being a legislator what are your achievements?
I have served the people of my constituency with all my potential. I held mohallah sabhas, resolved the sewer and water crisis in the area as long as I was the MLA of Jangpura. Even after dissolution of the Assembly people are coming to my office with their complaints/queries and I try my best to solve them. If the party gives me a ticket, I'll seek votes for the good work I have done so far.
Being a Speaker I tried to be honest and maintained the dignity of my office.
What is one good thing about Kejriwal?
(In a sarcastic manner says) The only good thing about Mr Kejriwal is his 'smile'. He hides everything behind his smile.
Who is going to contest against Kejriwal from the BJP?
Well, the party has not yet decided on candidates as of now. Let the time come everything will be clear and you'll know who'll contest against whom. I should also assure you that unlike AAP, the BJP has a long list of capable leaders who could be projected as CM candidate.