New Delhi, May 8 : As Delhi gets ready for an electoral battle for seven Parliamentary seats on May 12, an interesting battle seems to be in store in the high-profile constituency of Chandni Chowk.
The Parliamentary constituency, which has witnessed a dominance of the Congress since its inception, will this time see a clash between two veterans from the Delhi political scene.
Vying for the seat are old Congress war horse and four-time Lok Sabha MP from Delhi Jai Prakash Aggarwal who is pitted against veteran BJP leader Harshvardhan, a known face on the Delhi political scene, having been elected to the Krishna Nagar Assembly constituency in Delhi five times in a row between 1992 and 2013. Also in the fray is Pankaj Gupta of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) who is banking on popularity of the Arvind Kejriwal government, making it a tri-cornered contest.
Dr Vardhan, at present a Minister in Science and Technology in the Narendra Modi government, is the sitting MP from the Chandni Chowk, which he won in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections by over one lakh votes over his nearest rival Ashutosh of AAP.Dr Vardhan seems to have a definite advantage over his Congress rival, given the fact that he is a known face for people of Delhi, having been elected to the Krishna Nagar Assembly constituency in Delhi five times in a row between 1992 and 2013 and also served as a health minister in Delhi during the BJP government in Delhi between 1993 and 1998.
As the State Minister of Health in 1994, Dr Vardhan oversaw the successful implementation of the pilot project of the Pulse Polio Programme which involved the mass immunisation of 1 million children up to the age of 3 in Delhi.In 1995, this programme was launched nationwide leading to 88 million children being immunised. On March 28, 2014, India was declared polio-free by the WHO, as there had been no reported cases for three years.
Forming the third element of the tri-cornered contest for this seat is Pankaj Gupta of the AAP.While political observers say that in a contest involving veterans like Dr Vardhan and Mr Agarwal, newcomer Pankaj Gupta does not stand any chance. The AAP nominee is looking to make a mark by promising basic amenities to people of area like development of parks, providing health and education facilities and building road infrastructure.
In his election manifesto for Chandni Chowk constituency, Mr Gupta has made promises like development of parks to turn them into Delhi's lungs, opening a start-up hub, 125 mohalla clinics, widening of roads, decongesting major roads around Jama Masjid, Chawri Bazar, Hauz Khas and installation of 40,000 CCTV cameras Mr Gupta also promised to enhance penetration of education development initiatives in the constituency, including planned expansion and rapid modernisation of schools and making a third language available for studying in Delhi schools. For job creation, the 'Sankalp Patra' said a start-up hub would be established.
For traffic management, the manifesto promised to decongest major roads around Jama Masjid, Chawri Bazar, Hauz Khas among other areas.In health sector, the manifesto promised to build 125 new mohalla clinics, dialysis centres and emergency rooms in polyclinics in congested areas to save time during emergencies.Mr Gupta said his aim is to turn parks into lungs of the national capital. The manifesto mentions that there is a demand to develop and beautify larger parks and other spaces.
For security, the manifesto said 40,000 CCTV cameras would be installed in Chandni Chowk over the next two years.There will be special focus on mahila police infrastructure and safety of senior citizens, it said.Though many feel that in national elections, such issues would fail to draw voters, AAP leaders feel that issues like provision of health and education facilities and decongestion of roads have been long overdue and would definitely have traction among residents.
The stage is thus set for an interesting battle in this constituency.While Dr Vardhan and Mr Agarwal are banking on their past record and the draw of their leaders Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi, AAP's Pankaj Gupta is relying on the work done by the Arvind Kejriwal government at Delhi.The Chandni Chowk parliamentary constituency comprises of Delhi Vidhan Sabha segments of Adarsh Nagar, Shalimar Bagh, Shakur Basti, Tri Nagar, Wazirpur, Model Town, Sadar Bazar, Chandni Chowk, Matia Mahal and Ballimaran.Polls for seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi will be held on May 12. (UNI)