New Delhi, April 3: AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal Thursday appealed to his supporters in Delhi, where his party was born and where he was chief minister for 49 days, to come to Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi and Amethi constituencies for campaigning with him to defeat BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi.
Addressing a meeting in the Northeast Delhi constituency in support of AAP candidate Anand Kumar, a sociologist and professor in Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, Kejriwal launched a vicious attack on both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress, urging the people to vote against the both the parties if they wanted price rise to be checked, inflation contained and corruption eradicated.
Kejriwal asked his supporters in Northeast Delhi, one of the seven Lok Sabha constituencies in Delhi, to help him during the campaigning in Varanasi and Amethi after the April 10 polling in the capital.
The constituency, comprising 10 assembly segments – Burari, Timarpur, Seemapuri, Rohtas Nagar, Seelampur, Ghonda, Babarpur, Gokalpuri, Mustafabad and Karawal Nagar – is witnessing an interesting fight this poll season with the AAP fielding Anand Kumar against the Congress’s Jai Prakash Aggarwal, the incumbent member of parliament and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Bhojpuri actor-turned politician Manoj Tiwari.
Despite a humid morning and torrid heat, AAP workers slowly emerge on motorcycles and on foot, waving flags, brooms (the party’s symbol), AAP caps and pamphlets to accompany Anand Kumar and Kejriwal as they tour the constituency.
As the clock strikes 10, the convoy marches from Sonia Vihar interacting with people on the narrow streets and byzantine lanes, covering 23 markets and villages in the North-east Delhi constituency whose population includes a hefty chunk of Muslim voters.
Standing atop an open jeep, Kejriwal and Anand Kumar greet the cheering crowd comprising mostly lower middle class people, factory workers and small shopkeepers.
As the leaders and their convoy passes through the bylanes, people cheer and wave to them from their houses and on the streets. Some even join the cavalcade.
Some of the AAP supporters urge curious passers-by to vote for the AAP which governed Delhi for 49 days earlier this year.
Hoping for an East campus like the North and South campuses of Delhi University, a resident of Yamuna Vihar, Vikram Sharma,42, tells IANS: “I have been residing here for over 20 years. I want better education for my children so my support is with AAP whose leaders have promised to set up an East campus of Delhi University.”
Mustafabad resident Saera Khatoon says that she will vote for those who will solve the problem of water and electricity.
“I will vote for the candidate who will formulate a proposal to regularise the unauthorised colonies,” says Hazi Ali, 50, a resident of Sonia Vihar.
Explaining the needs of the Northeast Delhi constituency, 40-year-old Bhajanpur resident Shankar Rawat says: “Steps should be taken to open Central schools and Navodaya Vidyalaya in the area. The Delhi government and Municipal Corporation of Delhi should open new primary and middle schools in the area.”
Highlighting the poor sanitary conditions in the constituency, Aasim Rubani, an IIT student residing in the Brahmpuri area, tells IANS: “The Trans-Yamuna area is more famous for its dirty drains and poor sanitation than its people. There is a Gokalpuri drain also known as the Seelampur nullah in the area.”
“Brahmpuri and Gokalpuri drains flow in the open, with mosquitoes breeding prolifically. Most deaths due to dengue take place here. As this area has been neglected by the Congress at the parliamentary and legislative levels and by the BJP through its municipal corporation, I have decided to vote for AAP,” Rubani adds.
(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)