Gautam Gambhir, the cricketer-turned-politician, is known for calling spade a spade and this is something he feels will help him in connecting with the people of East Delhi parliamentary constituency, from where he is contesting the Lok Sabha Elections on a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket. Delhi will vote on May 12. In a freewheeling interview with newsnation.in, Gambhir – who was famous for his aggression on the field, said that 'honesty is more important than aggression in the field of politics'. In his cricketing career, Gautam Gambhir has scored 4,154 runs in 58 Test matches with 9 centuries. Gambhir also appeared in 147 ODIs (11 centuries) and 37 T20Is for India scoring 5,238 and 932 runs respectively. Gautam was behind the Indian team's victories in 2007 T20 World Cup and 2011 World Cup. He played the crucial knocks of 75 and 97 in the finals of both the tournaments respectively.
Here are the excerpts of the interview:
Q: You always said after your retirement that 'I am not joining politics', everyone now wants to know what made you change your mind?
A: It's a challenging field but very exciting as well. As I earlier said I never wanted to be someone who keeps tweeting about every issue in the country and then forget about it. I am someone who is different and ready to take a political plunge and do something I tweet about. I have the courage to implement on the ground what I tweet about.
Q: Whom do you consider a bigger challenge for you - AAP's Atishi or Congress's Arvinder Singh Lovely and Why?A: I believe in a fight with our own self. How quickly we can deliver on our promises is the only challenge. There is no other challenge. I don't believe in a fight with other candidates.
Q: What are the changes that you want to see in your constituency?
A: Delhi needs to be like Delhi... it cannot be like London or Paris. Clean water and air are basic requirements and we promise to give it to the people of Delhi. Till the time you don't give them basic things required on a daily basis, I don't think any other thing can be achieved.
Like there is North Campus, we would like to develop East Campus in this constituency, it's is very important. Parking is also a big issue so we need to make multilevel parking which will ease traffic congestion. Gazipur landfill is another big issue that needs to be addressed and then we will try to take Metro to Kondli.
Q: Do you think there's still Modi wave in the country?
A: Yes there is because development is taking place for the past five years. The promises have been delivered and that is why people have that trust in the Bharatiya Janata Party and our prime minister.
Q: You once said, "I am too straightforward a person to be in administration, I don't think people will accept me anywhere." Now you are contesting elections, so what have you changed in yourself to make people accept you?
A: This is how I'm gonna be. I don't need to change and I don't wish to change as well. I am straightforward, I have a vision and I want to develop Delhi. I am a Delhi boy and have emotional connect with the city and my vision would be to make East Dehli constituency the best in the national capital.
Q: Will we see the same aggression in politics?
A: I don't think it is required. Honesty is more important than aggression in this field.
Q: After being fielded by BJP, you hardly have 15-20 days for campaigning. Don't you feel the earlier announcement would have helped you?
A: I don't think so. I think it's fine. Whatever days you get is fine. When you have something to give back to the city, I think even one week is enough. People have taken four and a half years and still couldn't deliver and people who have something to deliver won't take more than two and a half years to deliver.
Q: It's too early to ask you this question but according to you whose life is more challenging a cricketer's or a politician's?
A: I am only five or six days old in politics but yes I have come with a clean heart and I am very very excited about it because I have an opportunity now to impact people's lives directly.
Q: As captain of an IPL franchise, Ranji team, how will you use this experience in the field of politics?
A: A captain has to have a lot of honesty, accountability, and integrity. These are the three things I am gonna take in politics as well.