Vardhan, who is in a high-voltage contest from Chandni Chowk with union minister Kapil Sibal and AAP’s Ashutosh as rivals, said the present political scenario reminded him of 1977 when he was a medical student in Kanpur.
The year 1977 was the first time that the Congress was voted out of power in an election called by PM Indira Gandhi after two years of Emergency. Vardhan, who practices medicine from his clinic in Krishna Nagar in east Delhi, said he had his hand on people’s pulse then as well.
He had predicted Congress’ defeat from Amethi and Rai Bareli and was proven right. “I see the same undercurrent today where it is not just the people’s anger which is the driving force but people want a positive change,” Vardhan said.
The BJP leader was confident of winning Chandni Chowk. He, however, did admit that the party was taking the Aam Aadmi Party, which pipped it to form the government in Delhi though for barley 49 days, more seriously. AAP had lost ground and the Lok Sabha elections would tell how “alive are they among the electorate”. “Lekin dhoodh ka jalaa, chach bhi phookh kar pita hai (once bitten, twice shy), hence I as well as the party are taking them very seriously unlike the assembly elections which had proved fatal for us.” When asked about the party’s failure to release manifesto with barley three days to go for the first phase of polling, Vardhan said the BJP’s Delhi manifesto was out and the national one would only be value addition.
When asked if Jama Masjid imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari’s endorsement of the Congress would hurt BJP, Vardhan said he didn’t see voters as Hindus or Muslims. “Bukhari had helped me tremendously during the polio eradication programme,” he added.