I'll be there for people: AAP's Chandni Chowk candidate
By  IANS | Updated:  Apr 27, 2019, 06:08 PM
Claiming that sitting Chandni Chowk MP and Union Minister Harsh Vardhan was not "approachable" for the last five years, Pankaj Gupta, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate from the seat, is telling the electorate that he would be "always reachable."
Gupta is contesting from the Chandni Chowk Lok Sabha constituency against senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Harsh Vardhan and Congress veteran Jai Prakash Agarwal.
Besides being a sitting MP, Harsh Vardhan (64) is also a five-time MLA from Krishna Nagar. Agarwal (74) too is a three-time Lok Sabha MP, having won twice from Chandni Chowk.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Harsh Vardhan had got 4,37,938 votes (44.81 per cent) while AAP's Ashutosh managed 3,01,618 votes (30.86 per cent) and Kapil Sibal of the Congress got 1,76,206 votes (18.03 per cent).
Despite being pitted against two big names from the Congress and the BJP, Gupta, an information technology (IT) professional and entrepreneur, is 100 per cent confident of winning from Chandni Chowk, which goes to the polls in the sixth phase on May 12.
Gupta -- whose nomination was announced by the AAP much before the BJP and the Congress named their respective candidates -- said he was working on the ground even before his name was declared.
"I have been interacting with the people of the constituency for the past seven-eight months. People here know that there is someone from the AAP who is working on the ground," Gupta told IANS.
Claiming that there is a culture in every political party, Gupta said: "Our culture is that people know that we are reachable. Look at our MLAs. All the AAP MLAs can be found in their offices. They meet and talk to the people.
"If the MLAs can be reached at all times, why can't the Mps be approachable? Unlike the sitting MP (Harsh Vardhan), I will be reachable to the people after getting elected," said the nominee of the AAP, the ruling party in Delhi.
Gupta, who holds an electronics engineering degree from the Motilal Nehru Regional Engineering College in Allahabad, jumped into politics in 2012 when the AAP was formed. He left his IT career behind to join the party.
Gupta had worked for various software companies for 25 years before quitting his job to work for the education of the underprivileged children. He was one of the key members who worked from behind the scenes during the Jan Lokpal movement.
On being asked where Harsh Vardhan had failed, Gupta said: "You can only fail if you do something. There is no scope of failure if you don't work. He (Harsh Vardhan) has not done any work, so there is no scope of failure."
Gupta also claimed that the sitting MP was never present in the area. "He (Harsh Vardhan) never tried to go to the constituency and find out what the people needed or what were their issues. People were suffering due to the sealing (drive). They were losing jobs. There was no source of income left for them. But he never tried to be with the people or think for/about them," he said.
Attacking the BJP in general and Harsh Vardhan in particular, Gupta said they didn't have any idea how many people lost their employment due to the sealing drive.
"There could have been some other solution instead of sealing. Had they thought about the public, they could have brought in an ordinance to stop the sealing drive. But they were never interested in dealing with the issues faced by the public. They were full of arrogance and so could not see the sufferings of the people," he said, adding: "What is the point of having an MP who never gave priority to the issues faced by the people?"
Gupta also said the BJP was using the model code of conduct (MCC) as an excuse now. "The MCC was not in place during the last few years. They could have done something then," said the AAP candidate.
Speaking about the local issues, Gupta said sealing, security and lack of basic facilities have been troubling the people in the Chandni Chowk area.
"Security has been a major issue in the area apart from sealing. People, particularly women, do not feel secure while going out. The parents are scared to send their daughters out," he said.
Gupta also said the police were of no use to the people. "The police are not accountable to the people. Instead of filing a complaint, the police tell the people that they will end up going to the court, after which a common man gets scared and comes back without filing a complaint. Harsh Vardhan never asked the police to be sensitive to the people," he added.
Gupta also said the area needed land for hospitals, more schools and other facilities for the people.
"People across the world praised the AAP government's ‘mohalla' clinics. But none of the opposition MPs came forward to say that they will help the city government with land so that more such clinics can be built. They could have taken the initiative thinking about the people, but they did not do anything."
Chandni Chowk is one of the seven Parliamentary constituencies in Delhi, which will go to polls on May 12 in the sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections. The BJP had won all the seven seats in 2014.
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