Delhi needs to be beautiful, secure: AAP's Manish Sisodia
Delhi is in a state of "rot" despite the vast sums of money spent on it over the years and the capital has to be made "beautiful" and "secure", AAP Urban Development Minister Manish Sisodia says.
On the Aam Aadmi Party's one month in office, the de facto no.2 in the party admitted that the process of enacting the much promised Jan Lokpal bill to fight corruption could have been speeded up, but could not be done so far as they were not very familiar with the government system.
In a wide-ranging interview, Sisodia, 42, gave an outline of his government's goals while speaking to this IANS correspondent in his official car on way from his newly alloted official residence in Mayur Vihar in east Delhi to Delhi Secretariat, a distance of over 10 km.
"We need a beautiful Delhi, a clean Delhi as well as a secure Delhi," he said.
"Indeed, there has been a lot of developmental work in Delhi but they forgot cleanliness. We kept creating new things but forgot how to maintain them. Delhi is in a state of rot now," Sisodia stated.
"There was no planned development in Delhi and a lot of money was spent though I agree there is a need to spend more money (on developmental projects)," said Sisodia dressed in a simple attire - a pullover and trousers-- which come across so unlike the conventional politician who wear flowing cotton tunics and trousers.
Asked about the achievements of the AAP government, Sisodia said it "has done a good job" in just a month. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his ministers took oath Dec 28.
However, he feels that the party could have "fast-tracked" the introduction of the Jan Lokpal bill, which would also cover the Delhi chief minister.
"There is always a scope for speeding up work like the Jan Lokpal bill. We could have introduced it earlier but we also did not know how to speed up the process," Sisodia told IANS.
The anti-corruption bill was one of the major election promises of the year-old AAP, which rules Delhi with the legislative backing of the Congress. Asked about the delay in revealing corruption said to have taken place in the holding of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, Sisodia said: "I cannot tell you much... We are still studying the files."
During the campaign, the AAP alleged gross irregularities in the mega games involving Congress leaders including the then chief minister Sheila Dikshit.
Sisodia, who also holds the charge of key portfolio of education, says the need of the hour was to improve the content of education.
On how to improve the educational system in the city, the minister told IANS: "We need to give washrooms, water, toilets and electricity (to students). If you cannot provide these facilities in the nation's capital, how will you make them available in other parts of the country?"
Will he contest the Lok Sabha election?
"As of now I think I should continue as a minister," Sisodia said, avoiding a direct answer. "What I have been assigned is one of the most important jobs."
The former journalist added: "Let's see how things unfold."
On his cabinet colleague Somnath Bharti, who lashed out at a BJP leader and a senior lawyer after coming under attack over a controversial campaign against an alleged prostitution ring, Sisodia said: "I completely agree we have to take care of our words. We should respect others."
(Gaurav Sharma can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Posted on 28-01-2014)