The journey after winning the elections has been far more difficult than the journey before it. It appears winning was much easier than thereafter. I had thought that after our victory we would be able to focus completely on governance. That was the reason I did not keep any portfolio. I wanted to be the wall between the Modi government and the Delhi government and its ministers, in the hope they won’t be affected. However, they [the Central government and the Bharatiya Janata Party] are trying to put obstacles in governance on a daily basis. Despite that, our fiercest critics would admit that we have done a lot of work....
Their [the Central government] taking away our anti-corruption branch. That was our biggest tool to tackle corruption. During our 49 days of governance (between December 2013 and February 2014), corruption had come down to nearly zero in Delhi. In the first three months of our current tenure, corruption came down dramatically. However, on June 8, 2015, the Modi government forcibly took over our anti-corruption branch, depriving us of control over it. Plus on a day-to-day basis, whatever order we pass, it is declared null and void.
Whether or not he takes calls, it doesn’t really make much of a difference (laughs).
No, he remains the same. Actually, he is a pawn. The real direction comes from the Prime Minister’s Office, particularly Nripendra Misra [Principal Secretary in the PMO]. I have met several Union Cabinet ministers and just about everyone says that they simply don’t have any control and that everything is being done by the PMO.
In our case, everyone says Nripendra Misra is controlling Delhi, that is, he gives directions to the Lt Governor.
People tell me that from the time the Aam Aadmi Party won 67 seats, his blood has been boiling about us. Whenever anyone takes my name before him, Modi gets angry. He is wreaking vengeance on the people of Delhi for giving us so many seats. It is his way of telling them, “Why did you elect AAP? Ab main tumhari aisi-taisi karoonga." [I will hurt you now.]
It is plain vengeance. What benefit? You can see what is happening in the MCD [Municipal Corporation of Delhi]….
Certainly. In fact, some of the union leaders told us that the BJP is just not letting the strike to end. You must have seen that even their mayor was on strike. Can you imagine a situation in which there is a strike and I join them? The mayor’s work is to end strike. There is so much of garbage strewn around. The mayor’s responsibility is to have the garbage removed, to ensure the strike ends. It is not for him to go sit with the strikers. Since the BJP triggered the strike, it doesn’t want to end it.
As you know, students organised a peaceful protest in front of the RSS office [in Delhi last month]. It wasn’t as if it had many participants. But the Delhi Police beat them severely. Police Commissioner BS Bassi issued a statement that protest in Delhi won’t be allowed without the permission of the police.
I will tell you a very interesting thing. From the day before [February 6], AAP began its Parivar Jodo [Join the Family] campaign. In this campaign, our volunteers move from house to house and ask people to join AAP. If they agree, our volunteers seek their permission to put a big board or a large sticker on their houses declaring that their inmates have joined the party. In one village, there were 350 families. Out of them, 300 agreed for the stickers or boards to be put up. This means people are openly coming out in support of AAP. It shows their fear is diminishing, coming to an end....