Rajouri Garden bypoll: AAP fields fresh face, Cong, BJP stick to old guns
The Rajouri Garden seat fell vacant after AAP legislator Jarnail Singh quit to contest from the Lambi seat in Punjab against Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) patron Parkash Singh Badal.delhi Updated: Mar 24, 2017 07:48 IST
The Rajouri Garden seat fell vacant after AAP legislator Jarnail Singh quit to contest from the Lambi seat in Punjab against Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) patron Parkash Singh Badal. Though Jarnail lost, the party has decided not to field Singh from Rajouri garden again and will instead field a new candidate.
The BJP-Akali Dal combine has already named former Shiromani Akali Dal legislator MS Sirsa as its joint candidate from the west Delhi seat
The AAP has decided to field Harjeet Singh as its candidate from the seat while the Congress is going with Meenakshi Chandela as its candidate. The bypoll for the constituency will take place on April 9.
While the Congress and the BJP have decided to opt for “old horses”, the AAP has fielded a new Sikh face for the bypolls, which will be held days before the April 22 municipal elections.
The bypoll is likely to be a critical test of the AAP’s popularity in the city. On the other hand, a positive outcome for the Congress will provide a major thrust for the party’s revival in the city’s polity.
A BJP victory will give fillip to the party, which is on an electoral surge in other states but is facing anti-incumbency in the municipalities in which it is in power.
Candidates of the BJP and Congress filed their nominations on Tuesday, while the AAP candidate had filed his nomination a day before.
The Rajouri Garden assembly seat — dominated by Sikhs and Punjabis — is a mix of resettlement colonies in Raghubir Nagar, unauthorised colonies, middle class areas in Tagore Garden, upscale Rajouri Garden besides pockets of urban village in and around Khyala.
The seat was won by the joint candidate of SAD and BJP Manjinder Singh Sirsa in 2013. However, in 2015, Jarnail Singh defeated Sirsa by 10,036 votes.
In a departure from the past, Sirsa will be contesting on BJP’s symbol this time round. Sirsa was accompanied by Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari and west Delhi MP Pravesh Verma on Tuesday as he filed his nomination.
Tiwari later said that victory of Sirsa will act as Delhi’s mandate of displeasure against two years of misrule by the Arvind Kejriwal government.
“We suspect that the AAP candidate could even lose his security deposit going by the anger brewing against the Kejriwal-led party among the people of Delhi,” said Tiwari.
Congress candidate Meenakshi Chandela, who also filed her nomination on Tuesday, is a sitting councillor from Khyala municipal ward and is the daughter-in-law of two-time legislator Dayanand Chandela.