Prof. Vijay Kumar Malhotra is a Bharatiya Janata Party veteran who launched upon his social life as a RSS Pracharak. One of the founder members of Bharatiya Jana Sangh in 1951, he was arrested under Preventive Detention Act in 1953 alongwith Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee and Shri N.C. Chatterjee. He spent six years in jail during satyagraha to make Jammu & Kashmir as integral part of India and was also detained for 19 months during Emergency. A four-time Lok Sabha MP and once Rajya Sabha MP, he was also President of Delhi State BJS, later of Janata Party and then of BJP when formed in 1980. Presently, Deputy Leader and Spokesperson of BJP Parliamentary Party in Lok Sabha holds a multi-faceted personality, Prof. Malhotra is an educationist, able administrator, journalist, writer, political and social worker and sportsman all rolled into one. He was also President of the All-India Council of Sports (2002-04).
Dr. Vijay Kumar Malhotra was interviewed by Amba Charan Vashishth for the Organiser only two days after BJP unanimously decided to fight Delhi assembly elections projecting him as party'schief ministerial candidate. Excerpts:
First congratulations to you. By nominating you the chief ministerial candidate of the BJP for Delhi assembly elections, the Party seems to have put premium on your experience, competence and standing in the Party. What does it mean personally to you?
Thank you very much. I think the Party high command decided what it thought was in the best interests of the organisation and as a humble, disciplined worker of the Party I accepted it as just another opportunity to serve the party and the people. I am beholden to the Party for having reposed faith and confidence in me. It has put a heavy responsibility on me. I will do my best to come up to the expectations of the Party, its leaders and the people. For me personally, it is both an honour and a challenge.
You are not new to the Delhi politics. You have been in the very thick of it. What are now your immediate plans for Delhi?
When I became the first Chief Executive Councillor in 1967, I had initiated a lot of schemes and plans for the development of the Delhi. Then Delhi was a city of just 26 lakhs. Today, it has grown into a metropolitan city of 1.60 crores. The problems have multiplied since then and so have the challenges
My first priority would be to get Delhi Statehood. After the Lok Sabha elections, we will have a BJP-led NDA government under the prime ministership of Shri Lal Krishnaji Advani. We will realise our goal under this Government. We would also like to have control over law and order and Delhi Development Authority. Under the tacit directions of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, Delhi Chief Minister is sitting over the mercy petition of Afzal Guru, the accused sentenced to death for attack on our Temple of Democracy, the Parliament. We will send our recommendation in no time.
We will work out an amicable solution to the problem of sealings in Delhi. We will end the injustice and harrassment.
We will have a separate Municipal Council for the trans-Yamuna localities.
We plan to make Delhi a Green City, a Beautiful City, a city where the poor people can lead a fuller life with basic civic amenities and facilities.
I plan to open at least 20 new colleges so that young students can get admissions in colleges. More hospitals will be opened. Special attention will be paid towards providing facilities for the poor people who breathe their last in the corridors.
We will immediately regularise the unauthorised colonies. Shiela Dikshit government is playing a hoax with the people by granting ?provisional? certificates of regularisation on the eve of elections.
We will gear up the State Administration to face the challenge of making excellent arrangements for the Commonwealth Games 2010. We will immediately take in hand comprehensive steps to eliminate traffic jams.
We will ensure that the rural areas in Delhi get almost equal treatment and civic facilities as provided to the urban areas.
What would be your immediate tasks since the elections are not far off?
My immediate task is to galvanise the party to empower it to win the Vidhan Sabha elections and form a BJP government with two-thirds majority. Within the organisation, we have no serious problem. The Party is united. The leaders are united. Small problem here and there are natural when the party is expected to form a government and the number of aspirants for tickets is abnormally high. It then becomes difficult to satisfy everybody. But I see no problem. Our differences end the moment party gives a nomination to an individual and the rest of the aspirants fall in line to wholeheartedly support the party candidate and ensure his win.
How hopeful are you of BJP winning the Delhi assembly elections?
I am as sure as the day light. The people are fed up both with the State Congress government in Delhi and UPA government at the Centre. They are yearning to vote both these anti-people governments out at the earliest.
How different do you find the electoral atmosphere this time than the one that was prevailing five years back in 2003?
The scene is very much different. Delhi Government is in disarray. There are dissensions within the Delhi Government and Congress Party. So far, Congress has failed to declare whether the elections will be fought under the leadership of Mrs. Dikshit or somebody else.
What are the issues on which you will go to the people seeking support for the Party?
During the last five years Delhi BJP was able to put the Sheila Dikshit government on the mat for failure on every front. It gave vent to the feelings of the people of Delhi on every issue, be it the rising prices, demolitions, regulation of unauthorised colonies, multiplying water and power shortages, deteriorating civic amenities, problem of students failing to get admission in colleges, absence of proper health services, particularly for the general public and the poor sections of the people. Roads are the worst. Traffic jams make the people fume. Neither the pedestrian nor the person on a vehicle is safe on the roads. Public transport is at its worst. The life and property of the people is not safe in the hands of the present State government and UPA. Women and children are the most vulnerable. During the last five years first they turned Delhi as the Rape Capital of India. Now it has been turned into a Terror Capital of India.
My only regret is that first our Prime Minister who declared that the minorities, particularly the Muslims, have the first claim to country'sresources, has now given this first right to terrorists.
We will make Delhi clean, safe and secure for every citizen.
Delhi had been the victim of three serial bomb blasts during the last four years in which more than one hundred innocent lives of men, women and children were lost. Yet, the Congress is playing politics with terror. What a shame that a brave police officer Shri M. C. Sharma, who laid down his life as a martyr fighting terrorists, questions and suspicions are being raised on his martyrdom. National Human Rights Commission has sent notice to the Delhi Police Commissioner.
Above all, Congress has hardly anything to claim credit for.
What are the main failures of the Congress government in Delhi?
I have already enumerated above. There is only failures? galore, no achievement.
Has there been anything positive in the tenure of the present Sheila Dikshit government?
I don'tsee anything. Had there been anything positive the Congress would not have lost the Delhi Municipal Corporation elections so badly.
What will help BJP Mrs. Dikshit or someone else?
To BJP it will hardly matter whether Mrs. Sheila Dikshit is their candidate for chief ministership or somebody else. Congress is going to lose, and lose badly, whoever may be the leader. That is sure.
What do you visualize would be the electoral scene for Lok Sabha elections which are not far off?
Whether elections to State assembly are held first and for Lok Sabha later or together with the State assembly, we are sure to win all the Lok Sabha seats from Delhi.
What criterion would be adopted in the selection of candidates for the Vidhan Sabha elections?
The image of the candidate, his standing in the Party and service to the people and the Party and, above all, his winnability.
What is your message to the people of Delhi?
It is an hour of crisis for the nation and Delhi. It is time we all joined hands to get rid of this anti-people Congress government. Their vote and support is going to write the destiny of the country and Delhi. If Delhi has to be turned into a well-developed metropolitan city by international standards with world-class facilities, safe and secure for even the aam aadmi and if we have to win the war against terrorism, particularly the cross-border one, the present Congress government must be thrown out.
And for karyakartas?
It is a trying and testing time for all of us. We have to work hard hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder with each other to strengthen the organisation and ensure that we get at least two-thirds majority on our own. It is a fight to redeem the honour of Delhi and to restore its pristine glory. These elections are going to make history. Congress is sure to indulge in every dirty trick of the game ? use money and muscle power and misuse official machinery. We have to unitedly stand guard against their nefarious designs. These elections will lay the solid foundation for our next win in the Lok Sabha and instal a BJP-led NDA government and realise our dream to see Shri Lal Krishna Advani as the next prime minister. Let'sjoin hands. Let'swork hard. Let'swin and win for sure.