Interview with Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit for Teekhi Baat on IBN 7 PC:
Sheilaji, now your examination is going to start.
PC: Which you have passed many times
SD: This is MCD examination now.
PC: You are leading in the elections, and it seems BJP people have made you the issue.
SD: We are all leading together. Yes, I am the chief minister, hence you may say. But why BJP made me the issue I don’t understand that till now, and now even you do not understand it.
PC: No, they feel that there are so many CAG reports, corruption charges have come unstuck on you till now, may be they do, hence corruption and inflation. The way scams are coming out be it of Congress party in Delhi or Maharashtra, you would be worried.
PC: Not at all?
SD: Because, the Delhi municipal corporation (MCD) which provides pertaining to day to day things, the elections are happening for that. And the Delhi scam that they are saying, they published a booklet, allegations were levelled, let them prove even one. And want to tell them through your medium that you prove it. We will give commensurate punishment to people who should get.
PC: If proven
SD: If proven. Please see, if I say something to you, don’t you have the right to reply?
SD: We have given our replies, nothing has been found of those allegations. Whenever things will happen, whether court or government does the same, that time we will do swift enquiry. But, saying beforehand that you are corrupt.
PC: But in a political battle, all these things happen, but the question is
PC: The kind of environment that is prevalent in the country today, it may affect Sheila Dikshit too, debacle in UP.
SD: I want to tell you politely with folded hands that to paint everybody black, telling everybody, it is a country, it is working, there is a need to run it, there are reports CAG, Shunglu Committee, we answered each and every paragraph. Did everybody forget this, that the games were so grand, only what was remembered that this electricity pole should have been this way not that way.
PC: Should have been of this amount not that amount.
SD: That you are judging, the officers would have done it or somebody else,
PC: But you party demands BJP chief minister’s resignation on the basis of a CAG report. The charge on you is that you save yourself, your ministers; you say it is a rubbish report, you bury it. Why do you apply double standards?
SD: We don’t rubbish it, we take it very seriously. You talked about our minister, what was his fault? What had he done, made a telephone call, ‘bhaiyya, yeh dekh lijiye’ . The revenue commissioner, did not withdraw the force, took appropriate action.
PC: You mean to say they are false allegations
SD: That is, the home ministry told us that tell us, we gave reply to them, to Lokayukta, it went to President of India. President of India said that there is nothing to it, it is normal.
PC: President of India, it is your government.
PC: On the advice of the council of ministers.
SD: President of India is the President of India (stress), not of the government.
PC: Our constitution says that the President is advised by the council of ministers or concerned ministry. Home ministry must have written in your support, hence they were let off.
SD: Who told home ministry, we told. Home ministry said, nothing doing, we don’t accept this. Now where is the question of corruption there?
PC: Do you think that the Lokayukta is giving motivated reports.
SD: Well, it is a word you have used.
PC: I am asking
SD: I will not use (those words) because he is Lokayukta
PC: Is he objective or not, motivated is a word you feel is strong to use
SD: Don’t find him objective, because the way he has gone about things, and even to the President.
PC: He wrote a letter.
SD: He wrote a letter stating that you have done this wrong opinion. I don’t know, I don’t know.
PC: The Lokayukta should have not done like this.
SD: I don’t think so, I don’t think so, we have set systems here.
PC: You had appointed
SD: No, no, many people make mistakes.
PC: Hence you think that the wrong person was chosen
SD: What I said is all
PC: The corporation elections are coming, the way you have trifurcated Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). Already there are so many authorities in Delhi. Do you want to get MCD out of BJP hands by doing this as you would not have been able to win a unified corporation, hence trifurcate it and may be then Congress can win some where.
SD: I am sorry, I am sorry, the situation that the BJP MCD is in now, if you divide it (MCD) or not, has got nothing to do with losing or winning elections. Yes, we are thinking on these lines for years, MCD has to be divided, this was even in BJP’s manifesto, it was in ours too. Because 97 per cent of Delhi, that today the BJP looks after, it is not possible that a commissioner can look after the same. Hence, it was divided.
PC: Now, will there be there mayors in Delhi. There corporations in one city, I have not heard of it anywhere.
SD: Isn’t New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) there.
PC: NDMC, already I am talking of multiplicity of authority. That is not under you, you can preside of become chairman of it post amendment, NDMC reports to home ministry directly.
SD: Now the powers that have come to Delhi, which included the director, municipal administration post has been created. He will look after, so wherever there are conflicts of interest or consensus is not being formed. But it was essential, one person from Bawana comes 45 kilometers away, to MCD headquarters, then the person says that there is no file, may be its lost somewhere. He has to make ten rounds this way. This decision has been taken to bring more efficiency , more transparency, accountability,
PC: You will control political decision making in the corporation as the funds will go through you now.
PC: You would have been feeling, let the MCD elections happen, but all fund allocation is in your hands.
SD: No,no,no,no, even today we give. There is Finance commission, which evaluates what all is requirements MCD, they tell us that give Rs. 1000 crore, we give.
PC: But don’t you think the way corporation us running, you were saying that BJP people were there. Like Rajiv Gandhi said, that 85 paise in every rupee goes in leakages, do you think 85 or 90 paise in every rupee goes in leakages in corporation. The way the condition of roads, sewerage is, the way cleanliness is there,
PC: The state of garbage disposal. You made efforts to make Delhi beautiful, but Delhi s dirty, most dirty today.
SD: They took money for 30,000 ghost employees, nobody knows where those 30,000 employees are. Recently, three weeks ago, 1000 teachers were employed, whose certificates are there are not, is not known. There are many scams, I am telling you only the prominent ones. They had to make 15 parking lots, not even two are ready, money was given. This money, this finance commission tells us, give this much, we kept on giving, but it has to be accountable. You gave it for flyover, they made something else.
PC: But all this work, it is very difficult to understand what work is with corporation, PWD. Where I say, half road belongs to PWD, half to corporation.
SD: The lines that we have made now, we have brought rationalisation. I cannot claim that everything would have been set right because we have done it together, there may be some mistakes. But in year, two years, everything will improve. This should not happen that I am staying in MCD limits and somebody staying in front of me is in NDMC limits.
PC: You are chief minister for 13 years, may good things happens, but Delhi has started to become a slum, even after all this. Unauthorised colonies, you added one after the other. An estimated 500 more have been added in you tenure. At least the state government would have been responsibility to look into the issue of unauthorised colony, slum. If your or PWD, forest land is encroached, that is your responsibility.
SD: No,no that is where you are wrong. It is the responsibility of municipality and Delhi Development Authority (DDA).
PC: The land is yours.
SD: No, it is not.
PC: If PWD land is encroached
SD: No, I am not saying that PWD
PC: The urban development board, that was under MCD six months ago, what is known as Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), all its lands have been encroached. Now there is a problem of multiplicity .There are encroachments being done on the ridge, unauthorised colonies are being made.
SD: It is being put to a stop in the ride area, you would have see the walls
PC: Walls are being broken down. Lutyens Delhi is important for you, roads are made there, everything happens there
SD: Lutyens Delhi is not Karol Baug, Lutyens Delhi is not University’s Ridge. This is not the case, it takes time
PC: South Delhi, in Mehrauli, 90 per cent of the ridge has been encroached, all the walls are broken down. If you want to see photos ,you can see that all walls have broken down.
PC: 13 years you have been in power, people gave you mandate three times, even then there are multiplicity of authority, it means you are at fault, you were not able to take things under your belt. Why didn’t you get the power to take things under your control, when people voted you time and again. You said that Delhi should have full statehood, also stated in the manifesto, but were not able to do.
SD: You said the word that I am the darling of Delhi, ok, if there are blessings, luck, whatever you may call it, three times I became chief minister. But what is the guarantee that I will always be the chief minister. So when a government takes decisions, it is not as per individuals. I did fight for these two things, 50 per cent reservation for women (MCD) and trifurcation (MCD)
PC : That you got done after a fight
SD: Not after a fight,
PC: It took you a long time
SD: no, it took time, it takes time in a government. You have to have patients. But you ask any official of the PWD, leader, but nobody opposed as in their own manifestos it is written – about trifurcation. Everybody realizes in the administration that this has become a very big body, it should be trifurcated. Took two historic decisions,
PC: You took those but you have not got full statehood here till now. Now corporation elections are happening.
SD: Now the question of statehood is another issue.
PC: What promises have you made in the run up to the polls.
SD: Our promises are very simple,
PC: Corruption cannot be eliminated from there
SD: Please see, let anybody make promise pertaining to corruption or not, the reason for corruption should be removed.
PC: What is the reason of corruption?
SD: The reason is, you make somebody run, and if I need birth certificate now, you are making run ten times, got it done online,
PC: These are small things
SD: No these are not small things, may be small for you,
PC: There is unauthorised corruption on government land, that is corruption
SD: With three municipal commissioners, who will be fully empowered like one municipal commissioner, this business of daily constructions coming up, will eventually stop.
PC: You are promising that this kind of construction will stop
SD: That is our aim, the aim was to make administration more responsive, more open that I promise
PC: Delhi opposition parties say that the Delhi government has become elitist, because you went to Miranda house, speak good English. Compared to other states, you made a good metro.
SD: Is my Hindi bad
PC: Hindi is not bad, you can speak good English.
SD: My mother father gave me an opportunity. I got educated, you are also educated.
PC: Got married in IAS person family, you got more education
SD: Now that is not my fault
PC: That is not your fault, which is fine. Elitism, am saying you tax big cars, in petrol, Gujarat, Goa reduced Rs. 15. You did not take such initiative to reduce state taxes
SD: Let out budget come, now our budget has not come, number one. Number two, Gujarat does not have to compete with Goa. We have to compete with NCR region. If in our place reduction is Rs. 15 a litre, if it happens Rs. 10 per litre in Gurgaon, where will he go
PC: In Gurgaon, even now it is cheap.
SD: No, no our is cheaper
SD: Diesel, diesel is cheaper
PC: I cross every day, I know it is cheaper by Rs. 2
SD: No, diesel is cheaper. Diesel because, we wanted to, for environment,
PC: But you can do on petrol
SD: Now we will see, you want good roads.
PC: It has been proven, that if a state government wants to, it can do the same.
SD: Now they have done, we will see after a year, then they will come to the centre, give us money
PC: There are elections in Gujarat but not in Goa.
SD: Then they would have done
PC: Expensive cars should be taxed,
SD: I agree, last time also we had done it. We can do it this time too. But I don’t want to speak about the budget because,
PC: Elitism because, the most expensive cars are in Delhi.
SD: What should I tell you Prabhuji, if you get expensive Mercedes Benz in Delhi, then people go to Haryana and buy.
PC: Number plate will be difficult to get later of Delhi
SD: Now it will be, not only number plate, but I say that to NCR,
PC: Should have a comprehensive policy
SD: Yes, one economic stabilized policy should be made.
PC: You are in favour of increasing taxes in big cars
PC: Tax on alcohol
SD: Certainly. You know our income from alcohol has come up enormously.
PC: Will do more
SD: Will do more, you be without any worry.
PC: Now your campaign is on, if you win in this, there is a culture in Congress and every party, in BJP. ‘ Jeete to neta, hare to worker’.
SD: No, that is not fair.
PC: If you win elections, Sheila Dikshit will certainly get credit, who will get the credit for losing
SD: If it happens, you are ready to give me credit, I have full faith
PC: You are the face of Congress in Delhi, there is no other face
SD: No, it is that way in every state. What face BJP has, Gadkari cannot be Delhi face,
PC: No, there is no face of BJP in Delhi, nobody can be seen till now
SD: Gadkari sahab cannot be there he is a ‘mahaan, bhari, bharkam, neta’
PC: You are chief minister, you were given whole authority of choosing, you will have the responsibility.
SD: No, no,no,no, ah, ah this time I did not give tickets.
PC: Covertly distributed them
PC: Secret Mission
SD: No,no, Prabhuji I tell you this is the first time, that MP, MLA, chose candidates for councillor tickets. If there were disagreements anywhere, then committee consisting of the general secretary, the PCC, myself and Motilal Voraji did. And please believe me on one ticket
PC: There is a charge by some that tickets were given after talking money, were given to relatives,
SD: No, no, I have no interest because I stay in NDMC, I have not councillor here. But let me tell you these talks keep on happening. One who gets ticket, he is very happy. One who does not get, he says see the ticket got sold.
PC: It seem Sheilaji you will work hard, may win elections like earlier. Let me ask you last question ,for you help will you call national leaders Soniaji, Rahulji, Manmohan Singhji, request for campaign.
SD: No, I would not invite them to come. Because , it is too small an election. It is an election for the municipality. Will Soniaji go to Baroda municipality, so, we are there.
PC: None of these three national leaders will campaign.
SD: No, we will not
PC: But central ministers may come
SD: Then ones who are there, Kapil, Maken, Krishana Tirath, they will do. Rajivji’s dream of devolution of power, we really have to make devolution.
PC: Hence, do you feel win
SD: Of course
PC: Will win
PC: If you lose then
SD: Then you
PC: Will you take responsibility
SD: I will all of ours
PC: Even yours
SD: Collectively we did and I gave you this example, that in reality we did it collectively. We will take responsibility, will evaluate, MP’s in whose areas, every MP has been responsibility given for 40 seats,
PC: You will try to make unclean Delhi a beautiful Delhi after that
SD: Certainly, will do and I ask for best wishes from you
PC: My best wishes are with you
SD: Thank you, Prabhuji !