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All for a share of Sheila’s pie

delhi Updated: Nov 18, 2008 00:09 IST
Sidhartha Roy
Sidhartha Roy
Hindustan Times
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Which is that one thing you want to do before you die? Fighting against the chief minister in the Delhi Assembly elections could well be one.

The New Delhi constituency, where the BJP has pitted Vijay Jolly against Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit of the Congress, has attracted the largest number of candidates — 25.

Most are from smaller parties that have no presence in the present assembly or are Independents. Out of these candidates, nine are women, which too is the highest in all the 70 constituencies.

While almost none of these candidates stand a chance to defeat Dikshit, a fact they admit, they have their own reason to be a part of this battle royale.

Harsh Malhotra of Panthers Party — the man who has married his wife six times in 13 years — is also fighting from this seat. He is fighting the polls because he wants to do “what the govt has not done for the poor”.

Kusum Behl, a Rajouri Garden resident and a teacher, says fighting against the chief minister was something one should always try. “I may not win, but there is no harm in trying. It would be a learning experience for me,” said Behl, who is contesting an election for the first time and lives at least 15 kms away from the constituency.

Then there are the veterans who just love to stand up to the big boys and girls. “I have fought elections against BJP’s L.K. Advani and Jagmohan earlier,” said Ved Prakash Shastri, an Independent candidate who is also a social worker.

He lost all those elections, but that hasn’t dampened his spirits. He says he fights polls because he wants to express his views and ideals before the people.

Some others fighting from the seat are dissatisfied with Dikshit’s work. “She has climbed so high on the political ladder that she has lost touch with poor people. I am fighting for the rights of the poor,” said Leela Devi of Janata Dal (U).

“It is not all about winning. I want to bring our problems into national focus,” said Nimmi Sayyed of National Jankranti Dal. “Women are not safe in the capital and you have a chief minister who says women should not travel late in the night. This is shameful,” she said.

Candidates like Pramod Kumar Singh of Lok Janashakti Party are relying on their vote bank to get them sizeable number of votes. “I stay in the area and will get all the votes of people from UP and Bihar,” said Singh. “I am no less a strong candidate than the CM,” he said.

Meanwhile, far from the clamour of the New Delhi constituency is Ghonda, where only three candidates — from the BJP, Congress and the BSP — are contesting. Ghonda is definitely not on anyone’s must do list.