Lok Sabha elections 2019: Candidates face off in East Delhi campaigns
On a sultry Sunday evening, the election fever rose a notch higher in East Delhi’s New Ashok Nagar where the three rivals — the BJP, AAP and Congress — organised simultaneous rallies just metres from each other.
On AAP candidate Atishi’s side was Gujarat Independent MLA Jignesh Mevani.
“This time vote so that your children... the youth ... can go to Oxford and Cambridge universities like Atishi. Don’t vote to send your children to Ayodhya or Kumbh,” he spoke to a gathering at the New Ashok Nagar market area, standing on a table that was used as a makeshift stage, while surrounded by his supporters.
He added that voting for the Congress in Delhi would mean voting for the BJP.
“I have come all the way from Gujarat to let you all know that things are not rosy as they appear to be in that BJP-ruled western state,” he said. “Here you get free medicines, but in Gujarat if there are hospitals there are no nurses. If there are nurses then there are no medicines. Here, government education is world class, there (in Gujarat) there are no teachers. So, this time vote to get a better life instead of voting to get a bag full of unfulfilled promises.”
Barely 100 metres from AAP’s gathering was the BJP’s set up, which had about 100 chairs and a saffron stage. “This time vote because Modi ji has made the country safe. He is keeping us safe,” a BJP worker of the area told the audience as they waited for party candidate Gautam Gambhir to arrive.
When he did, the crowd cheered the former cricketer. “On May 12 you have to vote to support Modi ji’s pledge of making India a global superpower. To make this happen you have to make BJP’s all seven candidates in Delhi win,” Gambhir told the crowd. “When it comes to east Delhi, we will make this constituency the most beautiful of all. For that I need all of your support.”
Further, about 200 metres from the AAP and BJP campaigns in Sangam Gali, a loud voice asked the crowd to “thoko taali! (applaud!)” as Congress’s Punjab minister and former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu made his way to the stage to support Arvinder Singh Lovely.
“More than parties, this election is about India’s win or defeat. I speak against BJP because I don’t want the coming generations to say that when the country was getting ruined, Sidhu was just sitting watching the show,” said Sidhu.
Gambhir, a former cricketer himself, and Atishi, who was the advisor to deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia in the Delhi government’s education department, are debutants in the election. Lovely, on the other hand, is an experienced politician as he has been a four-time MLA from east Delhi’s Gandhi Nagar constituency.
In a show of strength, AAP’s Atishi was also joined by Dr Kafeel Ahmad Khan, who is an alleged accused in the BRD Medical College and Hospital case in which over 30 children died two years ago over alleged disruption in oxygen supply.
Speaking at a roadshow in Nizamuddin, Khan said, “The fight in East Delhi is directly between AAP’s Atishi and the BJP’s parachuted candidate, who is a cricketer. Don’t get confused and vote for the Congess because it’s candidate has joined the party from the BJP and after the election he will return to the saffron party. So don’t let your vote got waste,” he said.