Priests, scribes in fray for LS polls in Delhi; Anjaan Aadmi Party, Gareeb Aadmi Party also in race


PTI, May 13, 2024, 7:56 PM IST

Representative image

New Delhi: Shopkeepers, labourers, fitness trainers, filmmakers, religious gurus, priests, tuition teachers, LIC agents, lawyers, chartered accountants, doctors and journalists — people from different walks of life are in the fray for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls in Delhi.

Parties with peculiar names (namesakes) like Anjaan Aadmi Party, Gareeb Aadmi Party, Hamara Sahi Vikalp Party, Apki Apni Party and Log Party have fielded candidates hoping to make a mark in the political spectrum of Delhi.

Around 52 fringe parties have fielded candidates against political bigwigs from the seven parliamentary constituencies in the national capital.

Housewives, pensioners and retired individuals are also trying their luck in this election.

Many of them do not eye victory but aim to clinch a handful of votes from the vote banks of national parties like the BJP, Congress and AAP.

With just Rs 1,000 cash in hand as shown in his poll affidavit, Nand Ram Bagri, the sole uneducated and unemployed candidate is in the fray from the North West Delhi constituency, representing the Voters Party International.

The 71-year-old election debutant aims to overtake the hotshots — Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Yogender Chandolia and Congress’s Udit Raj — in the poll race.

“The issues on which the BJP and Congress fight elections are our issues that we raised long ago. Whether it is the promise to deposit Rs 15 lakh in the bank accounts of each citizen or to provide free electricity and water, we raised these issues much before these parties copied us,” Bagri said.

Seema Rizvi (41), a single mother and Class-8 pass housewife contesting from Chandni Chowk on the ticket of the Azad Samaj Party, the political outfit of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, said she aims to reclaim the Muslim and Dalit votes from the bigger parties.

“The BJP is a party dedicated to Brahmins, Pandits and other upper-cast Hindu groups while the Congress does politics on the votes of Muslims. Both these parties have done nothing for the development of Muslims and Dalits in Chandni Chowk. I want to reclaim our share from these parties that just use them for electoral gains,” Rizvi said.

Congress’s J P Agarwal, a three-time MP from the seat, is in the fray from Chandni Chowk and the BJP has fielded businessman Praveen Khandelwal.

From West Delhi, independent journalist Ramesh Kumar Jain is fighting the poll battle. But he does not seek votes for himself and instead, encourages the voters to exercise their franchise for the right candidate.

Jain has been fielded by the Gareeb Aadmi Party. He works as an LIC agent, owns an advertisement-booking business and runs a local daily called “Jeevan Ka Laksha” through which he circulates messages for the readers.

“I do not ask for votes for myself. I spread awareness among the public to vote for the right candidate. I tell them that they should check the background of the contenders, their crime record, ideology and the issues they raise before giving their vote to them,” he said.

Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Mahabal Mishra, former MP from the seat, and BJP’s Kamaljeet Sehrawat are locked in the poll battle in West Delhi.

Several other fringe parties have fielded candidates from all the seven constituencies of the national capital.

Delhi is scheduled to go to polls on May 25 and the counting of votes will be taken up on June 4. A total of 1,52,01,936 voters are eligible to exercise their franchise, including 82,12,794 men, 69,87,914 women and 1,228 third-gender voters.

By Sugandha Jha

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