New Delhi, Mar 20: After a major setback for Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the Goa and Punjab Assembly Elections 2017, one of the major tests that now lies ahead for the party is the MCD Elections that are scheduled for April 23 and the Rajouri Garden assembly seat which will be held on April 9. Rajouri Garden ward has been has been lying vacant since the AAP legislator Jarnail Singh, famous for hurling a shoe at then Union home minister P Chidambaram, quit in January to contest against Shiromani Akali Dal chief Parkash Singh Badal from Lambi in Punjab Assembly Elections.
For the Rajouri Garden seat, AAP has fielded Harjeet Singh to contest on the Rajouri Garden assembly seat against Congress’ Meenakshi Chandela. Harjeet Singh, a popular figure at the Bangla Sahib Gurdwara, was holding the post of party’s Vidhan Sabha president in Hari Nagar. “Despite his high-ranking position, he has been an ardent volunteer at the Bangla Sahib Gurdwara…,” a senior leader said.
While winning or losing the Rajouri Garden seat won’t change much of AAP’s fortune in Delhi as the party swiped a total of 67 out of 70 seats in Delhi assembly polls, losing it can indicate if the party would be able to hold reins of Delhi in the upcoming civic polls.
The most obvious question that now arises is will the loss in Goa and Punjab affect the political landscape? To this, senior AAP leader Kumar Vishwas said that AAP had registered a ‘historic victory’ in 2015 assembly polls despite a rout in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Congress has fielded Meenakshi Chandela against AAP’s Harjeet Singh. Meenakshi Chandela had previously contested the seat against Jarnail Singh in 2015. Highlighting her priorities for the area and questioning the need to hold by polls in an attempt to hit at AAP, Chandela said, “Why is there a need for this election? It is because AAP has forgotten all about the people who voted for them.”
“They used the word aam aadmi and then dissociated themselves from the public,” she added. She also stated that in the last two years of AAP at Rajouri, the MLA Jarnail Singh did little to address the issues that the area has been facing for long and also held no public meetings. “We have been making up for the lack of leadership in the area. Our public interaction is 24/7 and will continue to be so,” she said.
Winning the MCD Elections would be a priority for AAP as it would make things easier for the Delhi government and civic bodies to work in accordance as right now the municipal corporations are ruled by BJP and the capital city by AAP. In the municipal bypolls held last year for 13 seats, AAP managed to win just five.
“We will go into the MCD elections with the good work done by the AAP government in the city. Be it opening mohalla clinics, reforms in education or providing drinking water, people of Delhi are seeing all this happening,” said Vishwas. “In MCD polls, we will go to people showcasing the good work done by the Delhi government in the field of health, education, electricity and water. We will win the MCD polls,” he added.
While Kumar Vishwas tried to lift the dampened spirits of the volunteers, there are other leaders who are concerned about how the BJP‘s UP would affect the minds of the voters.