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Election for North West Delhi is one-sided fight: BJP’s Yogendra Chandolia

May 16, 2024 05:34 AM IST

A former mayor, Yogendra Chandolia says that he will get DDA’s help in developing the urban villages in North West Delhi constituency

Yogendra Chandolia is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Lok Sabha candidate from North West Delhi. He has been associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) since the age of 16 and the BJP for decades, becoming a well-known Dalit face of the party. He was a mayor of the erstwhile north Delhi municipal corporation and chairman of the standing committee of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). In 2023, he was made the general secretary of the Delhi BJP. He contested the assembly elections in 2015 and 2020 from Karol Bagh but lost to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate. He spoke to HT’s Hemani Bhandari about his plans for the Lok Sabha polls.

BJP candidate from North West Delhi Yogendra Chandolia. (Vipin Kumar/HT photo)

Edited excerpts:

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How do you see this election panning out?

This is my seventh election. Every voter I have interacted with so far has assured me they want to vote in large numbers for Modiji. Wherever I go, especially to villages in my constituency, people tell me I have already won. Their demands are also simple: since villages have been declared urban, people want parks and community centres, their local water bodies cleaned up, and sports universities for larger villages.

It appears to be a one-sided fight, at least in the villages. The feedback I am receiving is that Udit Raj, my opponent, who was also with the BJP earlier, barely visited the constituency during his term. It appears that the Congress has given him a ticket on the basis of who can abuse the Prime Minister the most.

What are the main problems in your constituency?

A large chunk of my constituency comprises villages, both rural and urban. Rohini has 155 different societies, besides slums and unauthorised colonies. Each of them has their own problems. In villages, there is a demand to revive water bodies, which will be fairly easy for me, as LG sahab is the head of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA). Then, we need community centres and they are also under the DDA now. Roads are poorly maintained there and the PWD has done little to remedy that, but I want to fix that.

People from villages still ask me why lands acquired from them and funds with the Delhi government are not being used. From June 5, I will start work in these villages.

We cannot use MLA or MP funds in colonies, but DDA’s funds can be used and I will get that done.

The Kirari Vidhan Sabha has a population of over 10 lakh, but has no drainage. There is waterlogging and people have died due to that. I have promised them proper drainage and sewer lines. During Hans Raj Hans’ tenure, Hardeep Puri ji visited the area and sanctioned 200 crore for a proper sewer network, and I will ensure it is completed. Nearby, there is also a demand for a railway underpass to access Rohtak Road. Despite 132 crore being sanctioned by the Railways, the Delhi chief minister has still not issued an NOC for it. I will get this completed by getting the requisite permissions from the LG.

Are there any plans to boost education in North West Delhi?

Around 25 years ago, close to 25 acres were demarcated in Singhu village for a women’s college. This will be part of the Delhi University. At present, we only have the Swami Shraddhanand College in Narela and the Aditi College in Bawana. This (new) college will be built and there is a plan for a school in Rohini Sector 22 too, which will be built by the centre. We have land for this too and will get the funds. At this school, priority will be given to children of government employees. This new school and college will tremendously boost education in the constituency. The fees at this central government school will only be 700 per month.

How do you view your journey from a councillor to an aspiring MP?

Look, I joined the RSS at the age of 16 and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) five years later. I have held various senior positions and designations in the past 39 years and in August 2023, was made the general secretary of the Delhi BJP. I have also been a two-time youth BJP president. In the MCD, since 2002, I have won my seat three consecutive times. This shows that I am respected by people in my ward and worked for them.

I have a large area now and I won’t be able to cover all 2,454 polling booths, but I have asked my karyakartas to post stickers with Modiji’s face there. Yogender Chandolia does not matter. Today, only Modi matters and I keep saying this to people.

How will the experience of being a councillor help you in this election?

When I first became councillor in 2002, there were 134 councillors and now, there are 250 of them. Over my time in the MCD, I have also worked with different IAS officers to shape policies and decisions. For instance, when the issue of regularising 7,200 safai karamcharis came up in 2010, the commissioner was hesitant in going ahead with it, as we would have had to pay them arrears since 2006. I assured seniors we would get the funds and ensured the proposal went ahead. Contractors at the time would also get delayed payments. When this issue came to me, I spoke to others and we set a deadline, by which time all pending arrears, over 500 crore, were cleared. Contractors, to this day, remember Yogender Chandolia.

Your constituency is infamous for criminal activities and is also home to some gangs. Do you have any plans to curb this?

Most of these gangs and gangsters are now in Tihar jail, but I keep hearing reports that they are operating from jail and still carrying out hits. There is also a chief minister (Kejriwal) who is running a government from jail. I see no difference between these two.

We also have to stop illegal Bangladeshi migrants, as a number of them are involved in crimes, but when we brought the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), the opposition was against it.

Despite having many accomplishments over the past four decades, you are still seeking votes in PM Modi’s name. Why is that?

People want Modiji to become the Prime Minister again and there have been instances where people have been unhappy with the MP, but still want to vote for Modiji, as they are inspired by him. The work he has done is unparalleled, be it in the field of infrastructure, education or for women. He got houses built for 40 million people, toilets for 400 million people and provided free (cooking) gas to 110 million women. Over 800 million people have been provided free ration, which is no small figure. During Covid-19, double doses of vaccines were delivered swiftly and he has also got Indians stuck abroad rescued after any attack, be it in the Ukraine-Russia war, or during the recent Sudan attacks. He has done a lot of work, which includes getting Article 370 removed. He has done all this, so why should we not talk about him?

What are your thoughts on your opponent Udit Raj?

Before joining the BJP and winning this seat in 2014, he had lost all previous contests and forfeited his security deposit each time. The difference between him and Hans Raj Hans is that Udit Raj quit as he was not given a party ticket in 2019. Udit Raj’s work in the constituency between 2014 and 2019 is there for everyone to see and people know he did nothing. Old Congress leaders are also unhappy with Udit Raj and many have already resigned from the Delhi Congress. The Congress got 15% votes here last time around, but this time, they won’t even get 10%.

Your constituency also has a large migrant population. Do you have any plans for them?

Under the Pradhan Mantri Startup Yojana, crores of rupees have been disbursed in loans across the country. We are also shaping a Viksit Bharat vision and the party is looking at several schemes for employment generation. Already, over 250 million people have been lifted above the poverty line by the Prime Minister. Today, when I go out to campaign, Delhi’s youth shows me the ”victory” sign and they know we can help them.

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