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Who’s his principal opponent? What’s the X-factor of his party and why are the upcoming polls being perceived as a Kejriwal Vs Who fight?
The Quint caught up with Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) candidate from Rajinder Nagar, Raghav Chadha, as he campaigns in his West Delhi constituency ahead of Delhi Elections 2020.
Why are you contesting from Rajinder Nagar?
It’s my home, it’s where I have grown up. My family has been living here for 65 years. My father’s family stays in New and Old Rajinder Nagar. My maternal family is from Naraina. Be it Todapur, Dasgarha, Pandav Nagar, Karol Bagh, WEA, I have grown up playing in these areas. It is my birthplace. I want to make my birthplace my workplace with the love and blessing of Arvind Kejriwal and with that of the people.
You lost the South Delhi Lok Sabha seat last year to BJP’s Ramesh Bidhuri. What is the X-factor this time?
The Lok Sabha elections were fought on different issues. It was an election to chose the prime minister. Everyone was asking ‘Modi vs Who?’ – there was no one. Today, the same people are saying that Delhi’s election is for the chief minister. In this election, it’s ‘Kejriwal vs Who?’ – there is no one. Wherever I am going, even the BJP supporters are saying that although they had voted for PM Modi in Lok Sabha, they will vote for Arvind Kejriwal for Delhi elections. We will make him the chief minister.
Why has AAP replaced its sitting candidate from Rajinder Nagar?
The party gives different responsibilities at different times. The party has a bigger and better role for him. We are all a part of a family. Arvind Kejriwal is the family head. We take whatever responsibilities he gives us.
BJP has accused AAP of distributing freebies ahead of elections. What’s your response?
There are two models. In one, the Gujarat chief minister has spent Rs 190 crore on buying a luxury private jet. He flies all over India and across the world in it. Arvind Kejriwal hasn’t purchased a jet worth Rs 190 crore. He utilised Rs 190 crore to provide free bus rides to women in Delhi, reduced electricity bills to zero. Water reached every door for free. Senior citizens were taken on pilgrimage. He also installed CCTV cameras in Delhi. We utilised the money.
Who’s your opponent – Congress or BJP?
The Congress is not even in the race. It got zero seats in previous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. Congress is getting merely 2 percent votes in opinion polls. Congress has come to an end in Delhi. The fight is between the BJP and AAP in which the BJP is way behind. Arvind Kejriwal is loved and revered by entire Delhi. There’s no one of his stature in Opposition.
What are your plans for the youth?
What does the youth want today? They want job opportunities. They want opportunities in jobs, educational institutions. They want a chance. They want to be a job taker as well as a job giver. We’ve tied a lot in the last five years. I will strive to bring youngsters in the political mainstream. Ours is a young country.
What about Rajinder Nagar?
I have divided the entire constituency into seven parts. For every division, I will provide a specific manifesto.
How will AAP counter BJP’s pro-CAA campaign?
People want their everyday problems to be election issues. The BJP has nothing to say on electricity, water, roads, education and health. They are trying to deviate from issues. We don’t want to get distracted. They tried to do this in Jharkhand. Have you seen what happened there? They lost miserably. They tried to do the same in Haryana. Have you seen what happened there? They fell short of a majority. They tried doing this in Maharashtra as we saw what happened there. They were thrown out of Maharashtra.