The byelection to the Sikh-dominated Rajouri Garden assembly segment in Delhi will take place on April 9.
The seat fell vacant after the Aam Aadmi Party’s Jarnail Singh resigned in January 2017 to contest the Punjab assembly elections opposite Shiromani Akali Dal supremo and then chief minister Parkash Singh Badal from Lambi.
The BJP-Akali combine has fielded Manjinder Singh Sirsa in the bypoll. He is also vying for re-election to the post of general secretary of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC). Sirsa was the coalition’s choice from Rajouri Garden in the Delhi elections in December 2013 as well. Elected to the assembly in those polls, he lost the seat in January 2014 elections, despite polling 45,000 votes as compared to 41,000 in the previous elections.
Sirsa will face AAP’s Harjit Singh and Congress’ Meenakshi Chandela in the byelections.
Harjit Singh is know for his loyalty to the AAP, and had even donated his building in Connaught Place to open its party office. Even in the 2014 polls, Harjit was the main contender from Rajouri Garden, but was replaced by Jarnail Singh at the last moment.
- Sikhs comprise nearly a third of 1.66 lakh voters in Rajouri Garden.
- The seat fell vacant after AAP’s Jarnail Singh moved to Punjab to contest elections against Parkash Singh Badal from Lambi.
- SAD-BJP has fielded Delhi gurdwara panel’s Manjinder Singh Sirsa in the bypolls.
- Harjit Singh is the AAP nominee and Meenakshi Chandela is contesting on Congress ticket.
The Congress, meanwhile, has chosen Meenakshi Chandela as its nominee instead of her father-in-law and threetime MLA Daya Nand Chandela, as he has been facing a number of criminal cases.
Sikhs comprise nearly a third of 1.66 lakh voters in Rajouri Garden. Three out of four wards in the segment are slum-dominated. “The constituency remained neglected for two years as the MLA was trying his luck in Punjab, forgetting the promises made to the people here,” Sirsa told HT.
“The people of entire Delhi and particularly of Rajouri Garden are fed up of the way the AAP is running the government in the national capital; so I am sure they will opt for the BJPAkali coalition again. The byelection will set the tone for the AAP’s downfall,” he said.
“In two years, our party has performed very well. We have provided corruption-free government, opened mohalla clinics and provided best of educational facilities. I am sure people will elect me,” said Harjit Singh, who is a former regional director of a French multinational in India.