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Former MP faces ex-mayor in North West Delhi seat | Latest News Delhi

Former Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer Udit Raj, 66, worked with the income tax (I-T) department before he resigned and formed the Indian Justice Party in 2003. His party merged with the BJP in 2014, and he was elected to Lok Sabha from North West Delhi. However, he quit the BJP in 2019, and has now been fielded as the Congress candidate from the constituency. He speaks to HT’sJasjeev Gandhiok about the plans for the upcoming elections, and the recent departures from the Delhi Congress.

Congress candidate from North West Delhi Udit Raj. (Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)

How do you plan to address the many issues plaguing North West Delhi?

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There are three bridges over railway crossings – Mundka, Kirari and Narela – which I got sanctioned in 2018 but after my tenure was over, my successor (incumbent MP Hans Raj Hans from the BJP) never took them forward.

In addition, Narela needs Metro connectivity, and I got a sanction for it in 2018, but that too, hasn’t started. I feel rural Delhi is being discriminated against — if the Metro can be extended to Noida, Greater Noida, Bahadurgarh, then why is this area in the Capital neglected? This time, my priority will be to get all this done.

One of the most backward areas in the constituency is Kirari… There is no drainage system. That needs to be taken up on a priority basis. There is a need for colleges and universities here.

In the last elections, the BJP swept all seven seats in Delhi. How do you see these elections panning out?

This time, there will be a reverse. We (the Congress-AAP combine) will get all seven seats… I am contesting elections like a councillor — I have already conducted more than 200 meetings with people on the ground, and that’s the feedback I am getting.

How do you view the work of the incumbent MP?

One of the issues that I am contesting on is my tenure of five years versus his. Vote for me (if you think I worked more than him), otherwise don’t vote for me…

How do you see your opponent Yogendra Chandolia?

My slogan is “kaam kiya hai, kaam karenge” (I have worked, I will work). He is contesting elections on Prime Minister Modi’s name. If people face local issues like drainage problems or pollution, will people go to the PM to help resolve them? Why is an MP elected? So that he can resolve these issues. He works as a catalyst between the PM and the people…

He (Chandolia) should say what he is going to do for the people. He has been a councillor here for some time and his credentials are known. It’s already established that he is not efficient at all. He wasn’t even an MLA. I don’t know why BJP has fielded him.

Former DPCC president Arvinder Singh Lovely recently resigned from the party. What impact do you think it can have?

I don’t think it’ll have a negative impact. It’s better that they (Lovely and other Delhi Congress leaders) walked away, because if they had remained in the party, they would have only done harm.

For one year, the Delhi Congress had become idle… After Lovely left, things smoothened and started moving. I used to get frustrated about the stagnation.

The BJP has been saying that the Congress will take away the rights of backward classes, and North West Delhi is a reserved seat with a sizeable population from the community. How do you counter this?

In the 10 years that the BJP has been in power, they have ruined the backward classes. Most of the jobs have been privatised… According to public records, 1.3 million jobs are lying vacant… Instead of looking at themselves, they are blaming us… They have no moral ground to talk about reservation because they have killed it themselves.

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