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The Rediff Interview/Former Delhi CM Madan Lal Khurana

June 16, 2003

Former Delhi chief minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Madan Lal Khurana says he was shocked to know that Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit described him as a rakshas (demon), as reported in the media recently.

When Chief Correspondent Onkar Singh met him at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi, Khurana was confident that Dikshit's days as chief minister were numbered, and that the BJP would return to power in Delhi by the end of the year.

Sheila Dikshit has called you a rakshas...

If you give me your cell phone and I return it back to you then it would remain with you. Right? So I return her words to her with due respect.

Were you taken aback?

Naturally, I did not expect this sort of language from a person who happens to be the chief minister of Delhi. I have been in politics for the last 40 years but never in my entire career have I come across the use of this sort of language from my adversaries. This was totally unexpected. Naturally, it shocked me a bit.

What issues are you going to raise during the assembly election campaign in Delhi?

We are going to raise the issue of non-performance of the Congress government in Delhi. Corruption would be another big issue. The people of Delhi are facing severe shortage of water and electricity. In the last election, they [the Congress] won on one ground alone: on the price of onions.

They have nothing to show as far as achievement is concerned. Sheila Dikshit has not added one extra drop of water for Delhiites in the last five years. The water supply that the citizens of Delhi are getting is the same as what it was during our time.

What other issues are you planning to highlight?

We have a number of cases of corruption against the Delhi government headed by Mrs Sheila Dikshit. The Lok Ayukta passed severe strictures against Congress leaders in an advertisement case, and said that Congress politicians had made money out of this deal and swindled public money.

In this case a Congress MLA was thrown out of the party. It is important to note that the issue was raised by Congress leaders themselves. The CBI has registered a case on its own and is now investigating the matter.

Is the BJP going to win the elections in Delhi scheduled later this year?

There is no doubt about it. In any case, Delhiites have voted for a change in government after every five years. Naturally, we should win this time around.

How many seats do you expect to win?

The Congress has done a survey which gives us 37 seats. But I am convinced we will be coming back to power in Delhi with a comfortable majority. I think we should get at least 50 seats in the Delhi assembly election.

BJP MPs from Delhi met Deputy Prime Minister Advani recently. What was the agenda?

We met Advaniji with a request that the Centre should declare Punjabi and Urdu as the second languages of Delhi. The Delhi government has also sent a proposal to this effect to the home ministry recently. Advaniji promised us that by the third week of June an ordinance would be issued in this respect and Punjabi and Urdu would be given their due.

Why do this now? Because the election is around the corner?

We have no political motive. I agree it should have been done a long time back. But if it is done now, there is no harm.

You are chairman of the Delhi Metro railway. Why has the Delhi metro accumulated losses of Rs 25 lakhs in the first six months alone?

The Delhi metro rail service has begun on a short route right now, so naturally we do not expect to make profits right away. Once the entire circuit is opened for traffic in 2005, then we will be in a position to earn more revenue. We are also looking at other ways of making money like advertisements, hoardings etc.

Whose baby is the metro rail anyway?

It is our project. When the money was sanctioned and first official appointment was done, Sahib Singh Verma was the chief minister of Delhi. Mrs Sheila Dikshit was nowhere on the scene. Hence, we would project the metro railway as our baby.

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