Cong won't allow repeat of Nirbhaya incident if voted to power: Poonam Azad

Gaurav Saini

New Delhi, Jan 31 (PTI) Congress candidate from Sangam Vihar Poonam Azad has said if her party formed the government in Delhi, it will 'definitely' not allow a repeat of the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape case, which had put the then Sheila Dikshit administration under severe pressure.

The 53-year-old leader, who contested against Dikshit in 2003 on a BJP ticket from Gole Market, also said Sangam Vihar doesn't seem a part of Delhi as 'there has been no development since 2008 whatsoever'.

'There are no roads, water, sewers...nothing. It doesn't look like Sangam Vihar is a part of Delhi. Life in a village is better compared to this place,' she told PTI in an interview.

Replying to a question on women security, Azad rued that Arvind Kejriwal formed government 'out of the movement over Nirbhaya gangrape' but 'what he did he do after that?'.

'He took out candle marches and formed a government... The Nirbhaya Fund is lying unused. Are women safe in Delhi,' she asked.

According to data shared by Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani in Lok Sabha in November last year, Delhi spent only around Rs 19 crore of the Rs 390 crore allocated under the fund.

'But I can say that if the Congress comes to power, we definitely won't let another December 16-like incident happen,' Azad asserted.

Pitted against AAP MLA and DJB vice-chairman Dinesh Mohaniya, and S C L Gupta of the BJP, Azad has been visiting people of the constituency riding a motorcycle through narrow lanes.

'I have been campaigning on motorcycles because there are no roads to drive cars... The area remains cut off from the main city. It is a relief that motorcycles can ply,' she said.

Wife of former cricketer and MP Kirti Azad, she believes her husband's experience of bringing development in Bihar's Darbhanga will help her woo the electorate in Sangam Vihar.

'Purvanchalis and Biharis make up around 80 percent of the population in the constituency and I can connect with them because I come from that region and use local dialect,' Azad said.

On the issue of water supply in Sangam Vihar, one of the largest unauthorised colonies in the city, she claimed people in the area wait for water tankers for months.

She argues that the AAP government's 'lollipop' of free electricity and power is not working in Sangam Vihar because 'people need normal life first'.

'I don't know where to begin. They don't even have basic infrastructure. Give them proper life ... water and electricity first,' she said.

'Despite Mohania being the DJB vice-chairman, there are no water pipelines in the area and people depend on water tankers or private borewells,' she claimed.

According to police, petty arguments over water often turn into gunfights in the area.

Asked why the Congress could not bring development to the area under the Dikshit government, she said Sangam Vihar has never had a Congress MLA.

Azad snapped her ties with the BJP in November 2016 after serving it for more than 20 years, alleging she had been sidelined. Five months later, she switched to Congress.

Her father-in-law Bhagwat Jha Azad, who served as Bihar chief minister during 1988-89, also belonged to the Congress.

Her husband Kirti Azad was suspended by the BJP in December 2015 after he spoke against corruption in the Delhi and District Cricket Association when it was headed by former finance minister Arun Jaitley. PTI GVS ABH ABH ABH