Gautam Gambhir, the BJP MP from East Delhi, is having a sweet nightmare of late. I am petrified of jalebis, said the former Indian cricketer after being accused of skipping a key air pollution meet in Delhi and seen gorging on jalebi in Indore recently. A controversy had erupted over pictures of Gambhir eating jalebi with former India batsman VVS Laxman after they went viral on social media.
The jalebi controversy
During a conversation in the Jab We Met’ show, Gambhir said, I don’t eat sweets. Hadn’t eaten a jalebi in months. Just one bite of jalebi turned into such a big controversy.
If my eating jalebi has increased the pollution in Delhi, then Delhiites should stop eating it too. And I will stop it first. What is the issue — jalebi or Delhi’s pollution? It is very easy to divert attention from one’s own failure by trolling somebody. If it (AAP) had worked with the same passion for the last four and a half years, Delhi could breathe today.
Talking about his friend VVS Laxman, Gambhir said, “It was not at all his fault but even he got trolled along with me. This picture will cost the Aam Aadmi Party dear after a few months. Laxman apologised to me as he had no idea that by tweeting a picture, there would be such a controversy.
On being trolled by AAP for his jalebi-eating picture, the BJP MP said, My entire family and my kids were here. It’s not that I took them there with me. I don’t take my family to Bangalore every four months…for detox. The person whose family and kids are here will always be concerned about pollution. In the last four and half years in power, you (Kejriwal) have put all blame on stubble burning. I know stubble burning is an issue, and the state and central governments should sit together and find a permanent solution for it. But what have you done in the last five years? The central government made the Eastern Peripheral expressway so that big vehicles can’t enter Delhi.
India Today (@IndiaToday) November 22, 2019
On being asked about no sense of emergency among netas, Gambhir said, Probably one thing I could have never imagined in my life is that there would be schools shutting down because of pollution. I think all of us as politicians or MPs have to own up that responsibility.
On full-time politician role
On being criticised for skipping the meeting for a commentary assignment at Indore, Gambhir said, I had signed the contract much before getting into politics. I had to entertain the contract which I signed for an entire year. If I had signed the contract after joining politics, then people could have questioned it.
On elections in Delhi
Why it is that the BJP in Delhi is not being able to mount a strong enough challenge?
Things will change this time around. This election will be on performance. The first one was on too many promises made five years ago. I don’t think AAP has been able to deliver on any promise.
Asked on the probability of Gambhir for CM’, he said, My only job is to bring the BJP in Delhi, and that is what I am going to work forWe should stop playing the blame game and need to work together.
On Gautam Gambhir and BJP vs Arvind Kejriwal and AAP, the former cricketer had a straight answer. The BJP will only promise those things which it can achieve. You can’t fool people with tall promises. In five years, they have not spent money to reduce pollution. Now, when three months are left for elections, he has money to spend on freebies.
While giving his feedback on the free ride for women in Metro, Gambhir said, I am not for it. If you want to do the right politics, then school-going children should be given a free Metro ride. Because that’s not your votebank, so you didn’t do for them. It is a votebank politics.
On target no. 1 for AAP
In my constituency, I have seen such mohalla clinics where dogs were sleeping. In Ali gaon, there is a mohalla clinic that hasn’t opened even after five months of the inauguration. And they talk about health, claimed Gambhir.
On unauthorised colonies
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a Bill to provide a legal framework to grant ownership rights to people living in 1,797 unauthorised colonies in Delhi.
When asked about Kejriwal’s attempt to take credit on this move, Gambhir said, The BJP delivers what it promises. Ultimately, it is the AAP government in power, but it didn’t deliver any of its promises. So the BJP will get its advantage for putting in genuine effort.
On Ghazipur landfill site
It’s a national problem as well. We need to find a solution and that too really soon. There are people living here as well. During my campaigning days, a lady had offered me water, and I was shocked to see the quality of it. She told me to stand in her balcony, but I couldn’t stand there for 5 minutes, the East Delhi MP said.
Reportedly, the Ghazipur landfill site is very close to the height of Qutub Minar.
From Day 1, my topmost priority is to find a solution for Ghazipur landfill. The pilot project has just started. They are going to convert the waste into compost. They have put three machines and planning to put three more. It is still very early stepsThere are 1.5 lakh tonnes of waste. That’s not a small quantity. There are so many technologies in the world. Hopefully, we can find a solution soon, Gambhir said.
What’s more fun — being a politician or a cricketer?
Being a cricketer. It’s a performing art. You perform and the whole world watches you, said the former India opener.
When asked if he will miss playing cricket, Gambhir said, I don’t. I have done enoughA lot of people when they retire feel they could have played for one more year and that’s when they regret.
This is something which you are in control of. You have a bat in your hand, a ball in your hand. You are not dependent on anyone. You decide your own fate.
On greater pressure to perform
Gambhir said, As a politician, you are more responsible because the whole country is looking up to you. You can change people’s life. Your decision can impact a lot of people. But as a cricketer, you can bring a lot of smiles on people’s faces.
On his reclusive nature
I am really shy, and it is my basic nature which I have not been able to change. Fortunately or unfortunately, I have been into two professions where there is no place for people who are shy, Gambhir quipped.
On role model
Gambhir said he never had role models in cricket. The only person I have idolised and read a lot about is Bhagat Singh. One thing that keeps me inspired every moment.