The Aam Aadmi Party's search for a candidate strong enough to take on the BJP's chief ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan in Krishna Nagar has ended with Ishrat Ali Ansari, a 65-year-old, barely-known political turncoat.
A lawyer and a resident of Ramesh Park in Laxmi Nagar, Ansari has unsuccessfully contested parliamentary elections thrice from native Amroha in Uttar Pradesh — each time on a different party ticket.
Ansari, who studied law from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh, thinks he will be tough competition for Vardhan, who has won four consecutive terms from Krishna Nagar.
"I have been a fighter, working for the cause of labourers and weavers. During Emergency, I spent 19 months in jail. Krishna Nagar is a second home because it has a large population of people, mostly weavers, who have migrated from Uttar Pradesh areas such as Amroha and Bijnor," he said.
AAP spokesperson Manish Sisodia said: "Ansari is a political veteran. He would do well." The Congress has fielded former BJP councillor VK Monga from the seat. At one time, Monga was an associate of Vardhan.
Ansari has been with the Janata Party, Congress (J) and the Samajwadi Party. So what fetched him an AAP ticket? "When these young men formed AAP about a year ago, I felt that they had potential. I'm also a founder member of AAP. My friends asked me to contest. I approached the party and got the nod," Ansari said.
He claimed to have good support in areas such as Khureji, Brij Puri, Rani Garden and Araam Park. "There is no difference between the Congress and the BJP. Both are corrupt and spread hatred. I have come to Krishna Nagar with a message of love and harmony. Only AAP can provide a credible alternative," he said.
In September, AAP's nominee from Krishna Nagar Sushil Chauhan withdrew his candidature citing "personal reasons".
Ever since the BJP announced that Vardhan would be its CM candidate, the rookie party has been hinting it will field a strong candidate from Krishna Nagar. Even the name of AAP leader Kumar Vishwas was briefly floated.