How AAP’s Yogendra Yadav is navigating the cracks in Gurgaon constituency

Yogendra Yadav interacts with rural voters in Mewat.Gajendra yadav Yogendra Yadav interacts with rural voters in Mewat. Gajendra yadav

One hour from the skyscrapers that adorn the skyline of Gurgaon city is the relatively large village of Kharkhara, with close to 4,000 voters. In between lies a world of difference.

On a Wednesday morning, some 50 people sit on their haunches at a Harijan basti in the village, and are reminded of this difference. They are told the present political establishment in the Gurgaon parliamentary constituency has left them behind. In their midst, doing the talking, is a man speaking in polished Hindi.

Three days later, the same man finds himself soliciting support from corporate Gurgaon, the land of the glass buildings. This time he speaks usually in English.

From rural to urban, wealthy to malnourished, the terrain constantly changes. And navigating the cracks is Yogendra Yadav, the Aam Aadmi Party’s chief spokesperson, intellectual face, and now its candidate for Gurgaon.

The diversity in the constituency, as some volunteers put it, is perhaps a symbolic microcosm of the vast differences that exist in India. If there is Gurgaon city with its wealthy professionals worried about the AAP being seen as anti-business, there is also Mewat where the children run naked on unpaved roads waving his convoy on, for there are no schools to attend to. Perhaps compelled by the disparity before him as he drives through 22 villages a day, Yadav speaks in different voices.

In Rewari for instance, most of his discourse revolves around dynasty and issues of land acquisition. “This government before you purposely acquired land on December 31, before the new law came into effect, so they would then not have to pay you higher compensation. Tell me, is this not corruption? Our party is the only party where dynasty is not possible. There is a rule that if Yogendra Yadav has got a ticket, no family member will get a post in the party. This is how we want to change politics,” he tells a small group in Dungarwas village.

A day later, in Mewat with its large population of Meo Muslims, his words bear very little resemblance to yesterday’s. The distinction voters have to make here is between a communal and majoritarian government and the AAP, which he tells them stands for a secular India. “The choice is between the path of Modi, and the path of Gandhi,” he tells a crowd of bearded, weary-eyed Muslims, enthusiastic that here was one that spoke for them.

In Gurgaon city, it is the AAP’s economic policies and international outlook that are the subject of questions put to him by men and women in suits. And at these places, the Yadav of Rewari and Mewat, who slipped into Haryanvi, will not be found.

“The subjects that will sway a voter in these disparate areas are entirely different. In corporate Gurgaon, like when Yadavji went to Cyber Hub, they spoke mostly in English. In the cities we …continued »