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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

19 first-timers in new Delhi assembly

Of BJP’s eight entrants into the Delhi Legislative Assembly, two — Ajay Mahawar (Ghonda) and Abhay Verma (Laxmi Nagar) — are first-time MLAs.

Written by Sukrita Baruah | New Delhi | Updated: February 12, 2020 4:39:57 am
19 first-timers in new Delhi assembly AAP leader Atishi celebrates her victory. (Express photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

Nineteen first-time legislators are on their way to the Delhi Assembly, including former councillors, spouses of former MLAs and former Lok Sabha aspirants.

Of BJP’s eight entrants into the Delhi Legislative Assembly, two — Ajay Mahawar (Ghonda) and Abhay Verma (Laxmi Nagar) — are first-time MLAs. However, both are senior hands in the party’s Delhi state unit. While Mahawar is the party’s district president from North East Delhi, Verma is the state BJP vice-president.

The 17 first-time MLAs from AAP, however, present a diverse set of profiles. Among them are three — Atishi (Kalkaji), Raghav Chadha (Rajinder Nagar) and Dilip Pandey (Timarpur) — who had contested unsuccessfully for the party in last year’s Lok Sabha election. While Atishi and Pandey trailed behind both BJP and Congress in the parliamentary election, Chadha had come in second then, behind BJP.

“I just focussed on education. Delhi people had already made up their mind about (Arvind) Kejriwal, and they voted for development… I got to work for people and hope to continue to do the same in Kalkaji,” said Atishi.

Two other new faces from the party are sitting councillors: Kuldeep Kumar (Kondli) had won the municipal election from Kalyanpuri in 2017, and Abdul Rehman (Seelampur) had won the 2017 municipal election from Chauhan Banger.

19 first-timers in new Delhi assembly AAP leader Raghav Chadha secured victory in Rajinder Nagar constituency. (Express photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

Two of the new elected representatives are spouses of former MLAs. Preeti Tomar, who won from Tri Nagar, is the wife of outgoing MLA from the same constituency Jitender Singh Tomar. The party had initially named Jitender as their candidate from the constituency but ran into trouble when the Delhi High Court set aside his 2015 election for declaring false information regarding his educational qualification in his nomination papers. Though the party had then fielded Preeti, her husband had taken the lead during her campaign processions.

Dhanwati Chandela, who has been elected from Rajouri Garden, is a three-time Congress councillor. Her family has been associated with various political parties for over 20 years. Her husband, Dayanand Chandela, was elected as the BJP MLA from Vishnu Garden in 2003 and as Congress MLA from Rajouri Garden in 2008.

Rajkumari Dhillon, another woman first-time MLA from AAP, had joined the party after leaving Congress.

Haji Yunus, who upset BJP’s sitting MLA from Mustafabad Jagdish Pradhan, is also a first-time MLA. This is the first time AAP has won this seat — in 2013, it had gone to the Congress.

This election’s richest candidate, and now MLA, is also a first time MLA from AAP — Dharampal Lakra from Mundka. In his affidavit, he had stated that his sources of income are business, agriculture and interest from deposits, and had declared immovable assets amounting to Rs 288.7 crore.

(With inputs from Jignasa Sinha)

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