‘I wanted to become a doctor but had to take up family business’: Brijesh Goyal
A 42-year-old businessman, Goyal will take on incumbent MP, the BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi, and the Congress’s two-time MP, Ajay Maken, a former union and state minister.Updated: May 10, 2019 03:50 IST
Brijesh Goyal, the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) candidate from the New Delhi Lok Sabha constituency, is contesting elections for the first time. A 42-year-old businessman, Goyal will take on incumbent MP, the BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi, and the Congress’s two-time MP, Ajay Maken, a former union and state minister. In an interview with HT, Goyal talks about his priorities and why he thinks sealing is the main issue in the New Delhi constituency. He says residents will vote for local issues instead of the narrative around national security, which he claimed the BJP is harping on. Excerpts:
If you have to pick three key issues in the New Delhi Lok Sabha constituency as priorities, what would they be?
Since I am a trader myself, I strongly feel for the victims of the sealing drive. So, stopping sealing will be my first priority. In that, the first task at hand will be to de-seal the 4,000-odd commercial properties that were forced to shut in the past one-and-a-half years.
The second priority would be to find a solution to the parking mess in residential and market areas. I think stack parking is the solution for such areas. They are cheaper and are movable.
The next would be to resolve issues of government employees, which include discrepancies in the seventh pay commission and increasing dearness allowance. I also plan to involve resident welfare associations (RWAs) in deciding how the MPLAD funds will be spent in the constituency.
Two AAP MLAs have defected to the BJP in less than a week. Has it affected your morale or that of the party?
Not at all (laughs). Devender Sehrawat, the MLA from Bijwasan, was involved in anti-party activities for long. Anil Bajpai, MLA from Gandhi Nagar, was also not helping much in mobilising people for the elections.
The BJP is getting exposed by poaching AAP MLAs. It only means it has no development work to show to the people and is resorting to money power.
How has the support of MLAs been in your campaigns?
Very good. In fact, I feel the 10 MLAs in the New Delhi Lok Sabha constituency have put in a lot of hard work to garner votes for me. Honestly, I was baffled to see the popularity of some of the legislators in their respective areas.
A lot of people will vote because of the work these MLAs have done at the local level and because they have been so accessible.
Who is a bigger competition for you, the AAP or the BJP?
Only and only the BJP, as the Congress doesn’t have any vote bank left in the city. This election is a battle of perception of two political parties – AAP and the BJP.
Since you are a fresh face, what do you think people should know about you?
I am an aam aadmi who wanted to be a doctor, but left medical science midway to run our shop at Kashmere Gate under family pressure. That is how I ended up being a trader or a businessman.
When the India Against Corruption (IAC) movement happened, I was among the group of traders who were providing free food and water to those coming to Ramlila Maidan to show their support. Then Arvind Kejriwal decided to launch the Aam Aadmi Party and I was chosen to be part of his team.
Apart from politics, I am a professional yoga practitioner and head an independent women’s welfare organisation where we offer skill training to women.