Harsh Vardhan, the BJP’s surprise choice for the Chandni Chowk parliamentary constituency, says he is no outsider to the area, currently represented by the Congress’ Kapil Sibal. Vardhan, who was the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in the assembly elections, claimed that the party would win all seven seats in Delhi. Excerpts from an interview:
Re-elections in Delhi are inevitable and since you were the BJP’s CM candidate in the assembly polls, did your nomination come as a surprise?
Yes, I was surprised. But it was a pleasant surprise. During my entire political career, I have not taken any decision on my own. I go by whatever the party decides for me. When the party asked me to contest from Chandni Chowk, it brought back memories from my childhood. I spent the period between my pre-nursery days to my pre-medical period of my life in this constituency.
Fielding sitting MLAs was one of the main issues before the BJP while deciding candidates. Since three MLAs, including you, have got LS tickets, is the re-election in Delhi a certainty?
Re- election or not will be decided by the Supreme Court, Election Commission, the President or the L-G. We are concentrating on the Lok Sabha elections.
You have been an MLA from Krishna Nagar, which is in east Delhi. How well do you know Chandni Chowk constituency?
I spent the first 15 years of my life in the Walled City and I remember playing cricket at Ramlila Maidan. I used to watch movies with my parents at Delite, Odeon and Golcha. Contesting from Chandni Chowk is like homecoming to me... returning to my roots.
Your opponents are the Congress’ Kapil Sibal and AAP’s Ashutosh. Do you think it will be a tough fight?
These might be popular names but they don’t hold any significance for me.
What are your campaign plans?
In 24 hours, since the announcement of my candidature, I have visited almost seven assembly segments that are part of this parliamentary constituency, including Tri Nagar, Shalimar Bagh, Model Town, Ashok Vihar and Chandni Chowk. I will file my nomination on March 21 and will start my official campaign from Matia Mahal -- my birth place.
Will you go for door-to-door campaigns?
In the Lok Sabha elections, it is not possible for a candidate to visit every house and hence the party workers will help me reach out to them. RSS swayamsewaks have already started campaigning.
How will you tackle the challenge posed by the AAP and the Congress?
I admit we did not take the AAP seriously. But now their anarchic and antinational activities have been exposed. They ran away from governance and people will not give them a second chance. As far as the Congress is concerned, it’s already finished.
Will you ask national leaders to campaign for you?
I will be happy if (Narendra) Modiji helps me but he is very busy so it might not be possible.