From a social activist to a politician, Maheish Girri was in the right place at the right time when Congress’ shortcomings and anti-incumbency against the grand old party caused a political upheaval in Delhi. Riding on the ‘Modi wave’, he won East Delhi Lok Sabha constituency on May 16 this year. With couple of months into his new job, he shares his vision in a freewheeling interview with Tarun Khanna of Zee Media Corp.
What steered your interest into politics?
I’ve been associated with Art of Living for the past 15-20 years and worked as an international director there. During those days I was engaged in many developmental projects. Since the beginning I’ve been a spiritually driven person who believes in serving the society at large. In Delhi, I started a campaign called ‘Meri Dilli Meri Yamuna’ and later became a co-founder of India Against Corruption movement. Indeed, the name Janlokpal was given by me. The BJP’s Delhi team had seen my work. Even Narendra Modiji appreciated my prowess as a head of the Guru Dattatrya Peeth at Girnar in Gujarat. Due to consistent persuasion by Nitin Gadkariji, Harsh Vardhanji, Rajnathji and others, I decided to step into politics for a righteous cause.
You defeated Sandeep Dikshit who had a stronghold in East Delhi and Raj Mohan Gandhi who had the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi. Was there any apprehension or fear that you may not win?
I follow a strict pattern in life and that is to concentrate on what I’m best at, giving least amount of consideration to who my opponent is. During my days as a social activist, I dealt with drugs, land and slum mafias. Since I’m single and have no kids, I have no fear in life. Honestly speaking, I didn’t even bother to know what capabilities Sandeep Dikshit or for that matter Raj Mohan Gandhi possessed.
‘Meri Delhi Meri Yamuna’ was your brainchild. Since you are an MP now what are you planning for the development of Yamuna?
Yamuna cleaning still remains my foremost agenda. For this purpose I’ve already met Uma Bhartiji and Nitin Gadkariji. We are working together on some projects to beautify and clean Yamuna in Delhi. Furthermore, in the recent budget huge funds have been allotted for the rejuvenation of both Ganga and Yamuna. Isn’t it a great achievement for us that we now have a separate ministry for this purpose which the previous government didn’t pay attention to?
BJP is in power at the Centre and BJP rules the MCD too. And if BJP forms government in Delhi also, then don’t you think there would be no escaping from taking responsibility and blame?
The way it is going, we are quite confident that Delhiites will give majority to BJP in Delhi Assembly, if elections are held. However, we don’t deny that we will be in a tight corner and the responsibility will also grow, but we are all set to take up this challenge. Forget blame, Delhi will have a diligent government.
Why did you part ways with Arvind Kejriwal?
I was with him till his movement was in the interest of nation. However, when it began to favour individual interests, I decided to call it quits with him. Undoubtedly, he has a vision and is a crusader against corruption, but he remains in a cocoon with handful of people around him. He refuses to realise that these people take undue advantage of him. The movement that he launched raised high hopes, but it died a sudden death, making him an ‘intelligent fool’.
Will BJP Delhi MPs raise corruption charges against ex-CM Sheila Dikshit?
We do not believe in vindictive politics. The law will take its own course.
So will you be assisting the investigating team?
That time will tell.
Has the BJP sidelined the Ram Mandir issue in order to clean up its past stains?
BJP-led government will do whatever it will take to guard the national interest. If construction of Ram Mandir is in the interest of the nation then BJP will certainly go ahead with it. It will be a collective decision.
Till now the government hasn’t achieved much in curbing crime against women. How will you deal with such crimes in your constituency?
Well, as far as my constituency is concerned I had conducted a survey and found that crime rate is quite high there. I had a discussion with the police and we are chalking out possibilities to make the department high-tech. We are also working on bringing entire East Delhi into CCTV surveillance zone. In addition to this, I’m designing a gym-safety concept wherein a woman in distress can approach a nearby gymnasium to seek help. As gymnasiums are located in every locality nowadays, this will make the task of the police a bit easier.