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People don’t take Congress seriously, BJP has no credibility: Gopal Rai

AAP convenor Gopal Rai, who holds multiple portfolios in the state, is fighting elections from Babarpur.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jan 18, 2020, 11.26 PM IST
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AAP convenor Gopal Rai, who is leading the party’s Aapun Purvanchal campaign to lure Purvanchalis and counter BJP’s Manoj Tiwari, tells Prerna Katiyar in an interview that he is confident of the party securing a majority. Rai, who holds multiple portfolios in the state, is fighting elections from Babarpur. Edited excerpts:


How many seats will AAP win?
Based on the kind of response we are getting, we should get 2015-like results. We are hopeful of 67-plus.

You have already given 200 units of free electricity, free water and free bus rides for women. What are your poll promises now?
The first promise is that whatever sops you are getting right now will continue for the next five years. Second, we will work towards solving some of the other problems in Delhi and ensuring garbage-mukt, traffic jam-mukt and pollution-mukt Delhi.

Congress state president Subhash Chopra says bad air causes 58 deaths a day in Delhi and AAP is doing nothing about it. How do you plan to tackle Delhi’s air pollution? What did the Congress do in the 15 years they were in power here? We were the first government to implement the odd-even scheme and introduced community Diwali. At the same time, a lot more needs to be done and we will do these in the next five years.

Has BJP countered AAP’s subsidy by promising ‘jaha jhuggi wahan makan (houses for slum-dwellers)’?
Manoj Tiwari promises to offer subsidies that are five times more than what the AAP government is giving. Why don’t you first implement such sops in UP and Haryana? BJP is in power there. The biggest problem for BJP is that of credibility. It has been in power in Municipal Corporation of Delhi for 15 years. But everyone can see what they have done.

Some people are criticising AAP for not joining CAA protests. Do you support CAA?

We are totally opposed to CAA-NRC. We voted against CAA in the Rajya Sabha. BJP wants to give a communal colour to the election by using this issue.

Congress says poor students do not get admission in public schools, no new schools are being built, Kejriwal promised to stay in a flat but is living in a sprawling bungalow and rides SUVs. What do you have to say to this?
The Congress is not really a big factor in the poll fight in Delhi so they can say anything and get away with it. People do not take them seriously. Our fight is with BJP.

Some social scientists are saying there will be a huge influx of people to Delhi because of AAP’s sops and this will be more than what Delhi can handle.
People were contemplating moving outside Delhi because business and trade was down. AAP and its policies gave them a ray of rope. Else there would have been an outcry already.

Fifteen AAP MLAs have not made it to the candidate list. What was the criteria for selection?
There were three parameters: legislator’s performance in these five years, perception among public and their role in the party’s campaign. We did a survey based on these yardsticks and then made the list.

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