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Lok Sabha elections 2019- ‘AAP will face problems. The party is new, so is its W Delhi candidate’: Mahabal Mishra

The party’s only Purvanchali candidate, Mishra said he would win with his ‘Sarvanchali’ (reach to people from all regions) approach.

lok sabha elections Updated: May 05, 2019 09:18 IST
Soumya Pillai
Soumya Pillai
New Delhi
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Lok Sabha elections 2019- ‘AAP will face problems. The party is new, so is its W Delhi candidate’: Mahabal Mishra(HT Photo)

After a brief tiff with the party high command for omitting his name from the final list of contenders Congress’s West Delhi candidate Mahabal Mishra says he has “only respect” for his party. The party’s only Purvanchali candidate, Mishra said he would win with his ‘Sarvanchali’ (reach to people from all regions) approach.

Mishra spoke to Hindustan Times to share his development plans for West Delhi, his campaign strategy and the play of caste politics in the constituency. Excerpts:

Do you think your Purvanchali background will help garner votes as compared to the Jat faces that the BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have fielded?

The politics of caste is a game that the BJP plays. I am ‘Sarvanchali’ before I am a Purvanchali. People of all religions and castes are my brothers and sisters. Unless we rise above divisive politics, we will never be able to develop the country. This is my belief and this is my party’s belief.

Your name was not there in the original list of candidates the party had approved. Your supporters had to protest outside the party office. Has that soured the equation between you and the party leadership?

There are absolutely no hard feelings between me and the party leadership. Several names are considered before a final list is approved by our party president Rahul (Gandhi) ji. I am confident that my supporters will continue to stand with me. They have complete faith in me and so does the party.

What will be your key promises for the people of West Delhi?

I have been with the people of West Delhi in times of celebration and in their time of need. The first thing that is in my list of agenda for the area is to construct a West Campus for students who have to travel long distances to study. Like the North Campus and South Campus, the students of this part deserve a West Campus too. During my tenure between 2009 and 2014, I got a NIFT college project in Najafgarh approved. When the BJP came to power, that project was stalled. So I will take that up again.

Apart from that, sealing is another issue that has affected traders of Uttam Nagar, Mayapuri, Rajouri Garden and Tilak Nagar. The BJP is a capitalist government, and they do not care about the livelihood of small traders. The Congress, on the other hand, has always believed in the inclusion of all sections of society. Our minimum wage scheme for the poor, will help thousands of poor families.

Do you think the Congress lost out on time because the alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) could not be decided till the last moment? Has it affected your campaign?

I was personally never in favour of an alliance with any party. The Congress is a national party, which has been in power in Delhi for 15 years. We don’t need the support of a new party to fight our elections. I am not new to the people of West Delhi. May be, a last-minute announcement would have affected someone who is new to the area, but I have an MP from here and I have also been in touch with the people here even when I was not the MP. They know me and my work and that is what matters. AAP will face problems. Their party is new and so is their candidate. No one really knows him.

What do you have to say about your opponents from the other parties? Last time when there was a triangular contest, the Congress lost heavily. Do you think it will be different this time?

It will be different and we will win all seven constituencies in Delhi. Last time, people were carried away by the hollow promises of the BJP, but this time they know which party truly works for them. What has the BJP MP done for this area? In fact, they have only ruined the development work that I started in my tenure. Even when I was not in power for the last five years, I have always been with the people here. I stood with them through their times of trouble. They will make the right choice. Waves don’t last [Referring to the BJP wave in 2014].

First Published: May 05, 2019 04:15 IST

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