Gautam Gambhir, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s candidate for East Delhi, on Tuesday dismissed Aam Aadmi Party candidate Atishi Marlena’s challenge of an open debate, claiming there have only been debates in Delhi over the last four and a half years.
On Tuesday morning, Marlena had tweeted: “Gautam Gambhir ji, I have full faith that you will be game for an open debate with me on politics of development. Come, let’s discuss the development that has taken place in East Delhi in the last five years.”
“In the last four-and-a-half years, there’s only been debates in Delhi and I think people are tired of it,” Gambhir told News18 in an interview. “Every time you have nothing to deliver, come on TV and have a debate. I believe in going to the people and telling them about our vision, and try and make them connect with our vision. Debates will take you nowhere, but going on the ground will.”
Gambhir also denied that he possesses two voter identity cards, as alleged by Atishi Marlena in a criminal complaint against him.
“I have only one voter ID and I’ve only voted for one constituency – Rajinder Nagar,” Gambhir said. “I used to live in Ramjas Road, where my grandparents lived. I was brought up there, but I never applied for any voter ID. I never voted in that constituency.”
The BJP leader said he wants to develop the East Delhi constituency and the entire city. He said that contrary to the claims of the Aam Aadmi Party, the BJP has worked a lot for the victims of the sealing of shops and establishments.
Gambhir said quality education is important, as against merely “painting the walls” or slightly improving the infrastructure. “I am from Modern School which is not known for its infrastructure,” he said. “It is known for what it delivers. The youth who comes out of that school has enough opportunities to achieve his or her dreams. If that’s not the case, you are only trying to take political mileage out of that education system.”
The BJP leader claimed the Aam Aadmi Party has raised the statehood demand because it has failed to deliver on its promises. “I’m sure that must be in the [BJP] manifesto, but that hasn’t stopped development from taking place in the past,” he said.
Polling for all seven seats in the national capital will be held on May 12, and the results will be announced with those of other Lok Sabha constituencies on May 23.