The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has fielded a number of young, fresh politicians for its maiden outing in the civic poll in Delhi. The party has announced candidates for all 13 wards that will go to the polls this year.
The BJP, which rules the three municipal corporations, and the Congress are yet to announce their list of candidates. The main municipal election is due in Delhi in 2017. There are 272 municipal wards in the three municipal corporation areas in Delhi.
The bypoll to the 13 wards is being held on the Delhi high court’s orders. The state election commission is yet to notify the poll, but an announcement is expected by next week. The poll may be held in the first week of May.
The election is being seen as the first test of the ruling AAP’s popularity. The party achieved an unprecedented success in the 2015 assembly poll, winning 67 of the total 70 seats.
AAP released its first list of eight candidates on March 9 and another of five candidates on March 16.
“Like always, we announced the list before the others. Our door-to-door campaign has started. In poll, more so in municipal elections, a personal touch is very important. We plan the second phase of the campaigning where leaders will address rallies. But the focus is on door-to-door campaign at present,” said a senior AAP leader.
Anvika Mittal, 33, is an AAP nominee from the Shalimar Bagh ward.
Mittal, a dermatologist, was disappointed with poor sanitation in the city. A Delhi girl, she completed her MBBS from Manipal University, Karnataka.
“I joined the party in 2013 because I believed the only way to change things was from the inside as all the power resides with councillors, MLAs and MPs. I helped Ashutosh and Satyendar Jain with their campaigns,” she said.
Mittal was practising till early this year but managing the clinic and the campaign has become tough for her now.
“Our main push is the door-to-door campaign. I visit colonies, villages and apartment complexes in the morning and evening with my team. Soon, rallies will also start. My focus, as per the problems of the people in the ward, is on cleanliness. The optimal utilisation of existing facilities can almost eradicate all problems,” she said.
Ramesh Matiala, 30, will contest from Matiala -- the biggest ward in Delhi, even bigger than the Delhi Cantonment assembly constituency.
A graduate of Delhi University’s School of Open Learning, Matiala was a Bharatiya Janata Party supporter till three years ago.
“Then the Aam Aadmi Party came and I realised I wanted to be part of a party like this,” he said.
Lack of cleanliness is the most prominent problems being faced by people in Matiala. “That is the main issue here. We get support from the people as soon as we mention Arvind Kejriwal’s name,” he said.
“There are nearly 30,000 households in the ward. The average number of households in a ward is 15,000. Matiala is an important area for us and Dwarka is part of the ward,” the senior AAP leader said.
The party is fielding other youth wings candidates in the bypoll.
Of the 13 seats, six are lying vacant since 2013. The Congress, which has been demanding bypoll at the earliest, kicked off its campaign from Sunday with the former party MLAs also hitting the campaign trail.