Emotions ran high at the SDM office in Punjabi Bagh on Monday as several first-timers turned up to file nominations from wards in the North Delhi Municipal Corporation area. Many who had been denied a ticket alleged betrayal by the party leaderships. Ram Chandar Pihal, a 49-year-old from Nangloi Jat, came in with a group of solemn looking supporters who alleged that the BJP leadership, despite categorically stating that candidates will be chosen to represent the ward they belong to, indulged in ward jumping.
While Pihal’s supporters said he was standing from Swaraj India, Pihal muttered he was standing as an Independent. “Why don’t you tell them the truth,” Raj Dev, a supporter said. “We called up Swaraj India this morning after the BJP chose Balmiki to fight. They have agreed to give us a ticket. He has been a BJP worker for 30 years. Now, when the seat was reserved for an SC candidate for the first time and Pihal asked for a ticket, the party abandoned him. A party worker grows old. This might be Ram Chandar Pihalji’s only chance,” Dev said.
Pihal said, “They have given Mohit Balmiki, a resident of Peeragarhi, the ticket from Nangloi Jat, bypassing local party leaders who know the wards, their people and problems.” Standing nearby, Jagdish Tanwar, another local BJP leader who was refused a ticket, had come to take a look at the candidates. Unlike Pihal, who joined another party, Tanwar said he is a partyman who will remain with the BJP no matter what.
Meanwhile, drums and cheers accompanied Congress candidates, including former Delhi Congress MLA Bijender Singh’s son Mandeep Singh, two-time councillor Prithvi Singh Rathore from Nangloi Jat and Ashish Bhardwaj from Peeragarhi. Bhardwaj’s school friend, Nipin Bhargav, said, “Ashish had always wanted to be a politician. He is the first from his family to fight a formal election…”
Most AAP candidates had filed their nominations earlier because their candidate lists had been released much before the Congress’s or the BJP’s, sources said.