The number two in the AAP government’s 49-day stint, a smiling Manish Sisodia dismissed allegations of his near absence from campaigns in the rest of Delhi. “I have been in my constituency, where else would I be?,” he said before going to vote in Pandav Nagar on Saturday morning.
Around June last year, in the midst of a water and power crisis in peak summers, posters were put up in Mayur Vihar, Vinod Nagar and Patparganj with the questions: “Where is Sisodia?” and “Where has your MLA Manish Sisodia disappeared?” Sources close to the leader said this was the reason he focussed his campaign only in his constituency.
Congress candidate Anil Choudhary, who lost to Sisodia in 2013, said, “People have realised the mistake they made by voting for Sisodia. He has been high-handed and opportunistic, he has done nothing for the slums and disappeared on the people in times of crisis.”
Sources in the party said besides the intensive house-to-house visits for people contacts in slums and unauthorised colonies in Pandav Nagar, Vinod Nagar East and West and Mayur Vihar, and flash mobs, the AAP campaign in Patparganj, also included a structured “visibility” campaign for Sisodia.
On polling day as Sisodia went around polling stations meeting AAP booth agents, many residents said they had only seen him “from campaign to campaign.” Lakshmi, a resident of Khichripur, block 6 in East Vinod Nagar said she had tried meeting Sisodia several times for getting her granddaughter Sapna, admitted to “a good government school” after she passed out of Class X. “Both me and my daughter-in law went to his office, and he kept telling us to come back in a few days. It is quite sad because he promised good educational facilities in slums,” Lakshmi said. Several others, who supported Arvind Kejriwal as the CM of Delhi, said they wanted an MLA from a different party. Vijay, 23. a West Vinod Nagar resident said both Congress and AAP had let the area down. “What option do we have? The BJP candidate Vinod Binny is being called an opportunist, but at least he is a new candidate, maybe he will work,” he said.
Several people in polling stations from residential societies in Patparganj and Pandav Nagar said BJP’s Binny had their support. “This is also a vote for BJP and PM Modi, not for the local MLA,” Krishna Lata, a resident of Pandav Nagar said.
But it’s not all against Sisodia. “AAP only got 49 days last time. Sisodia will now do much more work for the area. Our whole colony has voted for the AAP,” said Lalit, 22 , a driver.