Trader vs old timer: Bipolar contest in Chandni Chowk

Since its establishment in 1956, Chandni Chowk has been a focal point in Delhi’s political landscape, witnessing 15 Lok Sabha elections.
BJP has nominated Praveen Khandelwal and Congress has fielded JP Agarwal.
BJP has nominated Praveen Khandelwal and Congress has fielded JP Agarwal.

NEW DELHI: Nestled in the bustling heart of Delhi, the Chandni Chowk Lok Sabha constituency carries with it a rich tapestry of history and cultural diversity.

Established in 1956, it stands as the smallest parliamentary constituency in terms of geographical area, encompassing the famed Chandni Chowk market renowned for its labyrinthine lanes, ancient architectural marvels, and vibrant street culture.

It comprises 7,91,317 male voters and 6,55,911 female voters, with SC voters making up 21.14% and Muslim voters 16.7% of the electorate, marking it as one of Delhi’s most diverse constituencies. Alongside Old Delhi, the constituency also spans various localities of North Delhi, covering several assembly segments including Adarsh Nagar, Shalimar Bagh, Shakur Basti, Tri Nagar, Wazirpur, Model Town, Sadar Bazar, Matia Mahal, and Ballimaran.

Chandni Chowk faces numerous fundamental issues, such as unauthorised encroachments, traffic congestion, inadequate infrastructure, water scarcity, and ceiling problems. Since its establishment in 1956, Chandni Chowk has been a focal point in Delhi’s political landscape, witnessing 15 Lok Sabha elections.

The Congress party has dominated nine times, while the BJP has secured victory five times. Prominent political figures like Radha Raman, Vijay Goel, and Kapil Sibal have contested here.

In recent elections, BJP’s Dr Harsh Vardhan emerged victoriousin both 2014 and 2019, winning by significant margins. In 2014, he garnered 4,37,938 votes against AAP’s Ashutosh, who received 3,01,618 votes, while Congress’s Kapil Sibal finished third with 1,76,206 votes. In 2019, Dr. Harsh Vardhan retained the seat with 5,19,055 votes, followed by Congress’s Jay Prakash Agarwal with 2,90,910 votes and AAP’s Pankaj Kumar Gupta with 1,44,551 votes.

For the May 25 elections, the BJP has nominated Praveen Khandelwal, a prominent businessman and Secretary General of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT). Khandelwal, holding a law degree from Delhi University, is known for his advocacy for the business community.

Congress, an INDIA bloc ally, has fielded JP Agarwal opposite Khandelwal. A seasoned politician, Agarwal had previously been elected from the constituency in 1984, 1989, and 1996. He has pledged to tackle regional issues, focusing on GST, unemployment, and inflation.

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