He was brought in as a last minute replacement. But three weeks into campaigning, his victory was virtually sealed.
Jai Prakash Aggarwal (61) played his cards well.
First, he won over Shoib Iqbal, a prominent Muslim leader from Chandni Chowk. Iqbal had shown interest in contesting from the North East Delhi parliamentary constituency.
Then Aggarwal managed to a stage a coup. He made Bahujan Samaj Party’s Dilshad Ali withdraw his candidature just three days before voting. Aggarwal got 5,18,191 votes, defeating BJP’s B.L. Sharma ‘Prem’ by a margin of 2.22 lakh votes.
Chief of Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee and a Rajya Sabha member, Aggarwal was a veteran of six elections when his candidature was announced. And he brought his expertise to good use.
Voting trend in ten assembly segments in the constituency shows Aggarwal not only won in all the 10 segments but in some constituencies he got three times more votes than his nearest rival B.L. Sharma.
Belonging to a family of freedom fighters, Aggarwal fought his first Lok Sabha election in 1984 and won comfortably. Of the seven LS elections he has fought so far (including this election), Aggarwal has won four.
He is definitely the most experienced MP in Delhi and may even be rewarded with a cabinet birth in the new government. But Aggarwal said he was happy being just a Member of Parliament. “I don’t need a minister’s post,” said Aggarwal. “I would not ask for it.”
What were the factors that worked in your favour?
This was an election fought entirely on the ‘Congress’ party name. People have shown faith in Sonia Gandhi. We have a young leader in Rahul Gandhi and a competent Prime Minister in Dr Manmohan Singh. Of course, party workers too left no stone unturned.
Now that you have won, what are your priorities for the constituency?
Starting development works in right earnest. These include bridges and flyovers; bringing Metro to Karawal Nagar; improving roads and drainage system and overall improvement of the Pushta.
(With inputs from Nivedita Khandekar)