Lok Sabha elections 2019: Congested lanes of Jamia Nagar open up to welcome AAP’s Atishi
“Dilli kehti purna rajya, Dilli ka haq purna rajya...” song belted out of loudspeakers atop cycle-rickshaws as Aam Aadmi Party’s East Delhi candidate Atishi started her padyatra through the congested lanes of Batla House in Jamia Nagar Saturday evening.
Scores of supporters followed the 37-year-old candidate raising slogans such as ‘Congress, BJP dhoka hai, desh bacha lo mauka hai (vote for AAP to save country from Congress, BJP)’.
In Muslim dominated Jamia Nagar — a part of the Okhla assembly constituency with around 3.6 lakh voters of whom around 2 lakh are Muslim — the AAP is counting on the support of the community, which plays a decisive role in the East Delhi segment.
The narrow lanes could not house the sea of supporters and many were seen pushing and shoving to be near Atishi as she asked residents to “make AAP win with a huge margin”.
Atishi, an Oxford University graduate, who is also credited for her role in the education reforms in Delhi government schools, reiterated her party’s commitment to the education sector.
Sporting the AAP’s trademark white cap with demand for full statehood written on it, Atishi said her party will fulfil its promise for jobs and admission in good schools and universities, if it wins all Lok Sabha seats.
Jamia Nagar welcomed the AAP candidate with rose petals at several points, as “chowkidar chor hai” slogans reverberated in the air. She also targeted Congress for doing little for the people during its 15-year long stint in power. After talks of an alliance with the Congress failed, the AAP has stepped up its attack on the grand old party, as both parties have a common vote base.
Atishi is pitted against former education minister Arvinder Singh Lovely of the Congress and former cricketer Gautam Gambhir of the BJP.
“Full statehood is our major poll plank and we are hopeful of winning all seven seats,” Atishi told a gathering at Batla House.
But not everyone is impressed. Locals say they are unhappy with area MLA Amantuallah Khan. “The AAP MLA has never shown up here. The area is filthy and we are still waiting for piped supply,” Fatima Bibi, 67, said.
Many in the area also see the Lok Sabha elections as a ‘Modi- Kejriwal’ fight only. “I have seen her (Atishi) for the first time. The fight here is between the BJP and the AAP, as Lovely has lost people’s trust after he switched parties (Lovely joined the BJP before the 2017 municipal elections but later rejoined the Congress),” Usman Khan, who owns a small eatery, said.