The largely rural constituency of Northwest Delhi has now become known to throw up surprises, especially after one of its segments, Mangolpuri, chose to elect Aam Aadmi Party’s Rakhi Birla instead of fourth-time MLA Raj Kumar Chauhan -- that too by a margin of more than 10,000 votes.
The Northwest parliamentary constituency comprises areas such as Narela, Mundka, Nangloi Jat, Badli, Kirari, Mangolpuri, Rohini. The delimitation exercise of 2008 made the seat reserved for a Scheduled Caste candidate. The voters largely include Scheduled Castes and OBCs who make up for nearly 42% of the voters. The Jat community with 12 per cent voters is the next dominant section.
As per the BJP’s strategy, the party is trying to reconnect with this 12% votebank, which had become alienated after the death of former Delhi chief minister Sahib Singh Verma. The representation of the community had gone down and its leaders were ignored during ticket distribution, said a senior BJP leader.
The party’s efforts seem to be showing results after the BJP won five of the 10 assembly segments in the 2013 polls. AAP won on two as did the Congress while an Independent candidate won on the Mundka seat. The party is yet to zero in on the right candidate for the constituency though the names of BJP councillor Yogender Chandolia, Udit Raj and former MP Anita Arya are doing the rounds.
“We have done quite well in the recently held assembly elections and won five seats out of 10. Our advantage is the BJP’s connect with the rural voters and their concerns. We are sure of winning this seat this time round as people are disenchanted with the Congress,” said a BJP leader.
However, the AAP has the potential of spoiling the BJP’s party by cutting into its vote bank. The party has already announced Mahendra Singh as its candidate from the seat. Singh has been a volunteer of the party since the Janlokpal movement of 2011 and one of the active campaigners during the assembly elections.
The Congress is likely to field Union women and child minister and sitting MP Krishna Tirath yet again. In the 2009 election, Tirath had defeated BJP’s Meera Kanwaria by a margin of 1.8 lakh, and the battle was chiefly between the Congress and the BJP. But the minister is likely to face a tough election this time with anti-incumbency, a resurgent BJP and the entry of AAP working against her.
Two more names are doing the rounds in Congress circles - former MLA Rajkumar Chauhan and Sultanpur Majra MLA Jai Kishan.
“We are geared up for the election. We have already planned a huge rally in Sultanpur Majra post-Holi which will see the attendance of all big names of the party.
Development will remain the key mantra in this rural constituency. The villages lack basic facilities such as motorable roads, health and education facilities. Power outages are often a big problem. The government schools of the villages face a shortage of teachers which has a direct bearing and even basic facilities such as toilets.