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Lok Sabha elections 2019: ‘Times are changing, don’t think people vote on the basis of caste’, says Raghav Chadha

Raghav Chadha asserts that residents of South Delhi — a constituency where caste and regional identity play crucial role — will vote for a leader committed to work.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: May 07, 2019 13:37 IST
Abhishek Dey
Abhishek Dey
New Delhi
Raghav Chadha, the AAP’s candidate for the South Delhi Lok Sabha constituency, is contesting elections for the first time.
Raghav Chadha, the AAP’s candidate for the South Delhi Lok Sabha constituency, is contesting elections for the first time.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
         

Raghav Chadha, the AAP’s candidate for the South Delhi Lok Sabha constituency, is contesting elections for the first time. Chadha, a 31-year-old chartered accountant, will take on the incumbent MP from the constituency, BJP’s Ramesh Bidhuri, who is also a three-time MLA, and the Congress’ star candidate, Vijender Singh, a professional boxer.

In an interview with HT, Chadha talks about his priorities and why he thinks it is essential for South Delhi to have an “educated” MP. He asserts that residents of South Delhi — a constituency where caste and regional identity play crucial role — will vote for a leader committed to work. Excerpts:

If you have to pick three issues in South Delhi, what would they be?

Regularisation of unauthorised colonies, pulling up the law-and-order condition and making public transport more accessible. My constituency comprises Sangam Vihar, one of the biggest unauthorised colonies in Asia. I plan on providing basic amenities such as roads, water pipelines, sewer systems to the area. Currently in South Delhi, there is lawlessness for which one has to work with Delhi Police, and ensure security of people. I also plan to get Metro to all parts of my constituency and take care of traffic and parking issues besides adding bus routes.

What is the one crucial vote base in South Delhi?

Women form a crucial vote base. Traditionally, political parties have looked at castes, communities, religious groups as vote banks. I believe women are a vote base that no politician looks at seriously. This time, women of South Delhi — cutting across caste, religions and backgrounds — would vote for an educated and dedicated candidate and not for a goon.

You have said vote for an educated leader. Why do you say that formal education matters to be a good politician?

Residents of South Delhi are fed up with the current MP because of his conduct. Hence, what South Delhi needs is a representative who is among their own, who listens and does not abuse people. That, to a large extent, would come through a strong educational background. Besides, we need young professionals to come to the forefront of national politics. Being a professional adds value to the workings of an elected representative.

Do you think caste and regional identity factors play a crucial in elections in the South Delhi constituency?

I feel, people now vote for one’s work and not one’s caste, community or religion. The kind of work the AAP has done for South Delhi in the last four years — especially when juxtaposed with what Bidhuri has done, which is essentially nothing — shows who has political intention and commitment to serve people and who is interested in power.

But record from South Delhi reflects a close correlation between votes and castes. Why do you think that will change?

When it comes to caste-based votes, in my personal experience, I can say I have gone to every village in my constituency and attended panchayat meetings, wherein locals evaluate a candidate from top to bottom, they ask difficult questions and see whether the candidate knows about the issues plaguing the area, the community and is willing to respect them. And it is only when they are satisfied that they offer support. And all panchayats have not only offered us electoral support but also monetary support after the conclusion of the panchayats… People want respect. And Bidhuri has failed to respect members of his own community [Gujjar] and those belonging to Jat community.

First Published: May 07, 2019 04:16 IST

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