In a constituency where he has never fought an election and where Muslims form a relatively fair share of the electorate, Harsh Vardhan is not apprehensive. The party’s Delhi chief believes contesting elections from the constituency where he grew up would not only be a homecoming, but also give him an edge over other contenders.
“I have grown up in the lap of Muslims. I have played cricket and gilli-danda with them. I will get collective support, inclusive of all communities, as I do not distinguish anyone on the basis of religion,” he said.
The BJP leader didn’t see any of his competitors as a major contender. “Kapil Sibal might be a bhari bharkam politician as a Cabinet minister. Defeating him will be a greater success than others. I do not see any leader as a threat, I am confident of victory,” he said.
“I was surprised on being asked to contest from Chandni Chowk by the party’s central committee. I feel privileged and fortunate to have been chosen. It would be like a homecoming for me as I spent 15 years of my childhood in that locality,” the Delhi BJP chief said.
Talking about a specific agenda for his constituency, Harsh Vardhan said “development of the area catering to all sections of society would be his main focus”.
The Congress, however, said the BJP chose Harsh Vardhan for Chandni Chowk out of compulsion. “Harsh Vardhan is from East Delhi. All his work has been in that area. The BJP has chosen him for Chandni Chowk because they have nobody else to turn to. The question is what will happen to Delhi Assembly with him now contesting the Lok Sabha elections,” Delhi Congress spokesperson Mukesh Sharma said.
JD(U)’s Shoaib Iqbal, who contested Lok Sabha elections from Chandni Chowk twice, said, “Voters of Chandni Chowk are aware of BJP’s principles, and are not going to accept communal politics. They haven’t done anything for Muslims. He might have spent his childhood in this constituency, but he is an outsider for Chandni Chowk, like AAP’s Ashutosh.”
(Kartik Kumar & Kundan Jha Reporters are students of EXIMS)