The 59-year-old ENT surgeon, known for his disarming simplicity and clean image, said he does not consider his "soft demeanour" a disadvantage in the harsh world of politics and was confident of defeating the Congress government as people of the city were fed up with its "misrule" and "failures" on all fronts.

"I used to study before the exams and leave nothing for the last day. I have never been tense in my life. In politics, election time is exam time. I am not tense. I take things in a very cool manner. It is just like a routine exam," a smiling Vardhan said.

The former Health Minister, fondly called "Doctor Saab" by supporters and opponents alike, said he was very much looking forward to the electoral battle against Congress led by Dikshit and promised to provide a transparent and people-friendly government, if his party comes to power.

"If tomorrow morning, they (Congress) change her (as leader of party) the first man who'll be disappointed will be me. I welcome the challenge and I am sure after few weeks from now, we'll see Delhi freed from the inefficient and corrupt regime and the present Chief Minister," he said.

Asked whether his being "too much of a gentleman" may be disadvantageous in the electoral battle, he said he cannot compromise on his principles to win the polls.

"If Delhiites feel that being a gentleman or being a soft person or being an honest person is a disadvantage, I would prefer to have that disadvantage rather than only craving for power. Because that is something which I cannot compromise," said Vardhan.

The former Health Minister felt hype has been created around Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Admi Party which will not translate into electoral gains for the new entrant into politics.

Flaunting his achievement as health minister from 1993 to 1994, Vardhan said his contribution in eradicating polio in Delhi has been well appreciated by various stakeholders including the World Health Organisation.

Congress has been taking pot shots at BJP for aggressively projecting Vardhan's contribution in the polio eradication programme, saying he cannot be given credit as it was a centrally sponsored initiative.

Vardhan said people in Delhi are "thoroughly frustrated" with the present government and they will "definitely" throw it out of power.

"Most of our surveys tell us that 70-80 percent of people are unhappy with the present government. That's a fact and the reality these days," Vardhan, who was made BJP's chief ministerial candidate to effectively counter the Congress with his experience in government, said.

Accusing Dikshit of running the government with a "casual approach", he said the Chief Minister could not solve any of major problems facing the city like waterlogging, scarcity of housing, unemployment and infrastructural bottlenecks, though she was fortunate to have been at the helm of affairs for 15 long years.

"Why has not a single slum dweller been given a flat in 15 years? She promised them all flats in 2008. Why not a single unauthorized colony has been regularized? They all live in hellish conditions. 15 years a Chief Minister gets and city remains waterlogged," he asked.

"After all there are experts who can study the gradient, study the sanitation system, drainage and do something. Fifteen years and these things are continuing. Traffic jams are continuing. Security of women is poor,” he said.
Identifying "deteriorating" law and order situation as a major challenge, he rejected Dikshit's argument that police was under the Centre and that she cannot be held responsible for rising cases of crime, particularly against women.

"I have studied that in London as well as in New York just by small intervention they have got their crime reduced by 40 percent. What did they do? They have lit the city thoroughly, removed all dark spots of the city and 40 percent crime rate has come down," he said.

Asked why Congress has been in power for last 15 years if its government failed in all fronts, Vardhan said it was BJP's "bad luck" due to which the party remained in opposition for so long.

"It is our sheer little bit of bad luck and her (Dikshit's) good luck that she is there. Otherwise, it's not that people have rejected us or they have only accepted her,” he said.

"They have given us an equal chance for victory and we are still serving in all the three municipal corporations in the city. We have been doing that for the last 10 years," the BJP leader said.

He referred to BJP's "hands down victories" in municipal polls in 2007 and 2012.

(Agencies)

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