Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Cakes, wishes dot Meenakshi Lekhi’s birthday on campaign trail
A dozen cakes, a sea of bouquets and a hired wedding band — Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s New Delhi candidate Meenakshi Lekhi’s election campaign on Tuesday was more than just about the usual garlands, party flags and its often-heard slogans. It was Lekhi’s 52nd birthday and the sitting MP from New Delhi, who was out of her home by 7.30am, celebrated the day on the poll trail.
Pairing sports shoes and a pale green saree, Lekhi started the day with a padyatra from Old Rajendra Nagar. Surrounded by scores of women, Lekhi went from house to house, wishing residents a good morning and urging them to vote for their “behen” (sister).
“I have a vision for you all. Modi ji has introduced the Mudra scheme. But, I am going a step further. If I return as MP, I will start a pension scheme for marginal and small traders,” she said as a septuagenarian opened the door of his house to greet her.
Old Rajendra Nagar mostly comprises voters from the trading community. It was one of the first refugee colonies in Delhi and was set up immediately after the Partition in 1947.
A few office goers and students, however, grumbled about the inconvenience they faced in reaching the main road as the colony’s lanes were blocked by Lekhi’s supporters. “Already, parking is a big problem here which is leading to congestion. Every house has two cars or more. I don’t know who will be able to resolve this basic issue,” Rohit Chhabra, a resident of Old Rajendra Nagar, said.
Lekhi was on a cake-cutting spree as she moved through New Rajendra Nagar, Kirti Nagar and Vasant Vihar. “It is probably the 13th cake she is cutting this day,” Manish Pandey, a member of Lekhi’s core campaigning team, said as he watched her cut one.
A few women supporters also prepared a song for the BJP leader that talked of her winning in Lok Sabha elections with an even bigger margin than last time.
In 2014, Lekhi had defeated two-time MP and Congress leader Ajay Maken by over 1.62 lakh votes. This time, she will face Maken again and also Aam Aadmi Party’s Brijesh Goyal, who is a new face.
“My second priority, if I am elected MP again, will be skill development. The area has a huge demand of domestic helpers, plumbers, electricians and so on. As a member of the New Delhi Municipal Council, I already have a project to set up a school for skill development at Chanakyapuri,” she said, amid a loud rendition of the happy birthday song by a wedding band hired by locals.
Asked about sealing, which seems to be the key issue for voters of the New Delhi seat, Lekhi reiterated that it is something that needs to be fought strongly in the Supreme Court.