Gautam Gambhir challenges Arvind Kejriwal for debate on development, says ball in CM’s court

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Published: May 7, 2019 12:37:46 PM

Delhi has seven parliamentary seats. The national capital will go to polls in the sixth phase on May 12. Results will be declared on May 23.

election in Delhi, Gautam Gambhir, East DelhiDelhi: BJP candidate Gautam Gambhir has challenged Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to debate with over development issue

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and East Delhi candidate Gautam Gambhir has slammed the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi for not fulfilling the promises made to the people. In an interview with The Indian Express, Gambhir said that he is ready to debate with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on the issue of development because he is the one who is responsible for the plight of Delhi over the last 4 years.

Gambhir, who joined the BJP just ahead of the commencement of the Lok Sabha polls, said that he was influenced by the strong leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said that Modi took tough decisions and showed the world that India will respond to its enemies in the same language.

“I was influenced by the vision and strong leadership, whether it was after Uri or Pulwama shown by our PM, and the kind of development that has happened under him,” he told IE.

When asked if the party fielded him just because he is a celebrity, Gambhir replied that it was the decision of the party’s leadership and he never asked for the ticket, adding that he joined the party well before his ticket was finalised. Gambhir was earlier speculated to contest from the New Delhi seat, currently held by sitting MP Meenakshi Lekhi. However, the party reposed its faith in Lekhi and assigned Gambhir to East Delhi.

Lashing out at the AAP and its East Delhi nominee Atishi Marlena who dared him for an open debate, Gambhir reiterated his challenge to Kejriwal, saying in the last four-and-a-half years, there have only been debates and dharnas in Delhi. Accusing Kejriwal of betraying the people of Delhi, Gambhir said he has “thrown the ball in Arvind Kejriwal’s court” as it is he who heads the party and dared Kejriwal to come out and accept his challenge.

Replying to a query on the thought that went into his political plunge, the former Indian cricketer said that he had been thinking about it for long. Gambhir said that he was tweeting about happenings in the country for long and thought whether he should just keep tweeting or go on the field and do something for the country. “I didn’t want to be just a Twitter sensation, so I thought I should take the political plunge,” he revealed.

Speaking about the first things he would do for the people of East Delhi if he wins, Gambhir said that his priorities will be to solve the issue of Ghazipur landfill site, provide clean water, solve parking problems and tackle pollution.

He also criticised his AAP opponent Atishi for her failed bid to get his nomination cancelled. The BJP leader said that AAP has no vision and its leaders are indulging in petty politics. Gambhir said that he has only one voter identity card from Rajinder Nagar.

Atishi had last week filed a criminal complaint against Gambhir claiming he has two voter identity cards — one from Karol Bagh and another from Rajinder Nagar. The AAP leader had also sought from the EC to cancel Gambhir’s nomination from East Delhi constituency.

Delhi has seven parliamentary seats. The national capital will go to polls in the sixth phase on May 12. Results will be declared on May 23.

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