The Son, Slum-Walker, Grandson Clash - The New Indian Express

The Son, Slum-Walker, Grandson Clash

Published: 30th Mar 2014 08:42:03 AM

Fighting Anti-Incumbency Wave

The toughest poll battles are fought with women power. Two-time sitting MP from East Delhi and son of former Delhi chief minister Sandeep Dikshit is walking the poll talk with his wife, Mona Dikshit, quite literally. He, with help from Mona and supporters is carrying out “padyatras” and meetings in the lanes of unauthorised colonies in the area. With mother and former Delhi chief minister Kerala governor Sheila Dikshit away from the Capital, Sandeep is working 16 hours a day to overcome the anti-incumbency factor he is facing. While Mona is out to help her husband in winning the hearts of the people, Sandeep starts at 8 am in the morning and end his day by 10 pm. Criticism is hurled at him at public meetings at the unauthorised colonies. But Sandeep stands it with a brave face and oodles of patience.  Saluddin, a voter for Seemapuri asked Sandeep at the Friday meeting, “For so many years, we have been requesting for a proper drainage system in our area but neither you nor your mother fulfilled it. Even then you want us to vote for you? Why?" Sandeep answered, “The development work done in the area is my strength. I am confident that we are going to win and that the BJP candidate would come in second position.”

Sandeep criticized AAP and BJP. He called AAP a “bubble”. “AAP has lost its charisma due to their poor performance in their 49-day government. There is no Modi and Kejriwal wave in Delhi anymore," he said. Followed by his supporters chanting “Kaho dil se Congress fir se”. He v isited Shahadra and Mandwali. The going gets tougher. Not everyone is convinced. “To win our hearts, you have to work very hard Mr Sandeep Dikshit," said Ramesh Sharma of Laxmi Nagar.

Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely accompanied Sandeep in his constituency.

The Art of Living Ground Reality

He knows the art of living, as well as the art of campaigning. Jhuggis and clusters are the extended ground for his morning walks. His ground work is backed by strong promotional skills. Social networking site Twitter is abuzz with updates and snazzy pictures from his campaigns and meetings. International Director of Art of Living Foundation and close aide of spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Maheish Girri has been working in East Delhi constituency for last three years. With a team of BJP workers and supporters, he has created a buzz in this area out of a veiled campaign in 2010.

While campaigning in Trilokpuri, Girri explained why he left Arvind Kejriwal led anti-corruption movement and joined BJP. “I was part of the movement and I joined in 2010. But over a period of time, we found that Kejriwal has stopped listening to other members and was forcing things on others. Hence, I walked out,” he said.

Campaigning aggressively for the last two weeks, Girri has been focusing mainly on slums, resettlement colonies and areas dominated by Muslim and Dalit voters. He has maintained a 15-hour campaign schedule. He wakes up at 5 am every morning. After meditation and a light breakfast, he starts his campaign by 7 am.

Girri had launched Meri Dilli Meri Yamuna movement to clean the river. Under Meri Dilli Meri Yamuna flagship, he had organised around 300 medical camps in the slums of East Delhi. Through this campaign, he had interacted with several people and personally met thousands of them. “BJP’s strategies, methods and policies have impressed me. Therefore, I joined the party to my dream of Bharat Navnirman into reality,” he said on Saturday while interacting with people in New Ashok Nagar.

What’s AAP without a Gandhi?

Being an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate is not half as good as being Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson. Rajmohan Gandhi is popular in East Delhi constituency which has large number of resettlement colonies and Muslim dominated areas for being the latter.

The 79-year-old leader is making it a point to sit down and hold small meetings with people at regular intervals, thus giving a personal touch to his campaign. He refrains from attacking any political party or sitting Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit.

“I feel AAP is the only party which is following the principles of Gandhi and is a common man’s party. The Congress used to be an “aam aadmi” party three-four decades back. Now it is the khas aadmi party while BJP is the rich man’s party,” says Rajmohan Gandhi politely.

Dressed in a khadi kurta and wearing a Gandhi cap, Rajmohan Gandhi walks slowly through the streets of East Delhi while AAP volunteers and supporters spread the word about the man from the “real Gandhi family”, invoking interest among people. Many people come with their children and grand children in tow to make them meet the member of a Gandhi family, whom they have only read in their text books. During his conversation, Rajmohan Gandhi tries to come out of the shadow of his famous second name by telling crowd that they should see him an AAP candidate but that doesn’t make things any different.

“I am not seeing him as an AAP candidate but Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson and will sure vote for him as I am confident after talking to him that he will do something for the constituency,” said Ashok Gupta, a trader in Khureji Khas in east Delhi. Being a writer and professor, he is getting a lot of support from students and teachers in Jamia Nagar and Okhla.

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