Ahead of the upcoming Assembly Elections in Delhi, Congress recently welcomed into its fold ex-BJP councillor Dr VK Monga to reap benefits in Krishna Nagar constituency.
Believed to be a heavyweight from the East Delhi constituency, which is notably the stronghold of BJP`s chief ministerial nominee Dr Harsh Vardhan, Dr Monga is known in the area for his honesty. He had won the 2007 civic election with a margin of 6,000 votes.
It will be interesting to see if Monga’s switching sides will adversely impact the fortunes of Dr Harsh Vardhan. In an exclusive interview with Kamna Arora of Zee Media Corp, Dr VK Monga discusses the CM nomination of Dr Harsh Vardhan, impact of AAP on Delhi polls, and prospect of Congress in the upcoming Assembly Elections.
Kamna: You resigned from the BJP citing Dr Harsh Vardhan as the reason. Now, the party has chosen him as the CM face. Do you think your decision was wrong?
Dr Monga: My decision was correct. But I believe it is the bankruptcy of the BJP that a person like Harsh Vardhan has been chosen to be a CM candidate inspite of adverse sentiment against him in the party. Harsh Vardhan’s candidature is not dictated by the BJP, but by the RSS. At the end of the day, BJP might declare anybody as the PM or the CM candidate, it does not matter. It is the public which gives a verdict. The party may have chosen him, but public of this area is not at all happy with him.
Kamna: When you were chosen as the Congress candidate, Dr Vardhan said you were not a challenge.
Dr Monga: I will not say anything about what Harsh Vardhan has said. I read it in the newspaper that he said people keep coming and going. But if the Congress invited me to join the party, it must have been their well-thought decision. And if I decided to join Congress, it must have been my well-thought decision too. They did their own surveys and I talked to my own people. In fact, in the last 17 months, I went from pillar to post and talked to at least 17 senior people in the party and the RSS on 17 occasions. But nobody lent me ears. My grudge was Dr Harsh Vardhan has never been an organisation man. He has never been a worker at local samiti level or block level or zilla level. He went on to become central vice president and state president without any organisational skill. You have to develop that skill.
He has destroyed the basic structure of the party, in a way that he has never cared about his workers. He is very rude, arrogant, and has no time for his local people. These were my problems. I went everywhere but everybody thought I was trying to talk about myself. But it was not so. I did my work as a councillor for five years and as a health committee chairman for four years in the best possible, most honest and transparent way. And till now, nobody has been able to single out any issue against me just because my work style is like that.
I believe in honesty, transparency and I do work hard. That is why I did a lot of projects in Delhi. Maternity hospitals and dispensaries were opened during my four-year stint. In fact, Hindu Rao Medical College, which has opened now, was planned during my tenure as health chairman.
Kamna: You cited a lot of valid reasons but still the BJP went on to make Harsh Vardhan as the CM candidate. What do you have to say about it?
Dr Monga: This is the disaster for the party. I must tell you, as long as Vijay Goel was party president, people were still hoping that the BJP will come to power. But now this person (Harsh Vardhan) has come up, I don’t think people will take him seriously. Vijay Goel would have been better option. He has done a lot of work and was a direct threat to the CM (Sheila Dikshit). But I believe whatever BJP thinks is right for them. But even after the announcement of CM candidate by the BJP, media and public believe that Sheila Dikshit will come back to power for the fourth time.
Kamna: What is your strategy to tackle Harsh Vardhan?
Dr Monga: I have my own issues. First, my work record has been positive. I believe that my strength is my positivity. Second, the BJP has said Harsh Vardhan is an honest person, but what about his councillors, what about those working in MCD. All MCD councillors, who have been allotted a ticket by him, are facing corruption charges. They are very corrupt and everybody knows about it. He may be honest but his people are not. You are not clean as long as your house is not clean. In a rotten house, if you are sitting after taking a bath, you are not clean. Same way, this person may be clean but there are charges against so many corporators belonging to the BJP.
Thirdly, incomplete tasks in the area for the last 20 years. For example, if you have to get a voter card and ration card, you have to go to another constituency, which is Kanti Nagar. If people from Khureji go to Kanti Nagar three times, they have to shell out Rs 500 and a lot of time. The facility should have been provided in Khureji also. Postal headquarter of Delhi 110051, i.e. Krishna Nagar post office, is in Karkardooma, which is another few kilometres from here and falls in Vishwas Nagar constituency. So, my question is what is he doing? If there is someone who was elected for only five years, he can give an excuse that he could not get time or administrative approval, but in Harsh Vardhan`s case, he failed to finish the task even during his long stint.
Another problem is water supply, which is very poor. People have been complaining about it. Whenever people go to him, he tells them to go and talk to Sheila Dikshit. You have been made MLA by the people. You should respect our sentiments. And you are a doctor by profession. You must know the health hazards of drinking contaminated water. And in your constituency, who will look after this. Our water reservoirs are situated in Gandhi Nagar or Laxmi Nagar. Whatever water is surplus, they are giving us, otherwise there is nothing. Water logging problem has also been persisting for the last 20 years. He had never been able to tackle it.
There are a lot many problems, which he has not been able to solve. I also believe that he is MLA for one hour a day; in the rest 23 hours, you cannot locate him. Nobody has been able to do it. No one knows where he goes. He does not have any ideas to tackle these issues. (Sarcastically) He is suited to be made the PM not the CM.
Kamna: What will be the impact of AAP on Delhi elections?
Dr Monga: In my calculation, the AAP will cut into the share of BJP votes, not Congress’. May be around 20-80; 20 percent votes from the Congress and 80 percent from the BJP. Due to anti-incumbency or any other reason, some people might give their vote to alternate option against Congress. But if they have two or three options, that vote will be divided. Nonetheless, the Congress will again come to power in Delhi for the fourth time and Sheila Dikshit will again become the CM.
Kamna: Will there be an impact of Narendra Modi on Delhi polls?
Dr Monga: I don’t think in Delhi polls, it has had any impact till now, but may be later on. Modi is a PM candidate not a CM candidate. It may, however, polarise Muslim votes.
Kamna: Give me three reasons why people should choose you and not Harsh Vardhan?
Dr Monga: My positive style of functioning, good interaction with the masses, and my working as a Councillor in the area for the best benefits of people. I think these are the three reasons.
Kamna: What is your promise to the electorate of Krishna Nagar constituency?
Dr Monga: My promise to the electorate of Krishna Nagar constituency is clean administration, 24-hour friendly relations, and best possible services to them.