A backseat driver, Jai Prakash Aggarwal (64) now finds himself behind the wheel. As the Delhi Congress chief, he was involved things macro — planning poll strategies, guiding party workers and organising big rallies. But with the withdrawal of Jagdish Tytler’s candidature from Northeast Delhi seat due to his alleged involvement in 1984 riots, Aggarwal was told to step in.
Though his candidature was announced a day before nomination was to be filed, Aggarwal does not consider it to be a disadvantage. A veteran of six Lok Sabha elections, Aggarwal said election is fought under the party banner and the individual does not matter.
“I have been working in this area for more than one-and-a-half years. I am president of the state unit of the party and people know me. It is absolutely no problem that my candidature was announced later," said Aggarwal.
However, to reach out to maximum number of voters, Aggarwal attends 12 to 14 public meetings every day and undertakes a four-hour padyatra (campaign on foot) every morning.
In his public meetings, Aggarwal talks about 20-year development plan for the constituency, which has seen little development in the past few years. He said most government's funds for development projects should now be diverted to Northeast Delhi.
“Why just the signature bridge? With growing population, there will be a need for more roads over the Yamuna to connect North East Delhi with the rest of the city,” said Aggarwal.
Metro’s expansion in the rest of the Capital, at least one 500-bed hospital, a central school, a college and development of unauthorised colonies are some the other projects Aggarwal lists as his priorities.
“This area is like a village. We need a leader who has good rapport with the state government and can work for the development of the area. Being a senior Congress leader, Aggarwalji can do it,” said Anil Jain, a resident of Babarpur where Aggarwal addressed a public meeting recently.