A former BJP bastion that has been voting for change since the past three elections, Rajinder Nagar this time around is seeing two young faces — AAP’s Raghav Chadha and Congress’s Rocky Tuseed — against BJP’s R P Singh, who won the seat in 2013.
The constituency, which has Jat-dominated Dasghara and Yadav-dominated Todapur under it, saw a sea-change in demography in the 1950s and 60s, when thousands of displaced families made it their home after Partition. In recent years, the demography in areas such as Inderpuri, Naraina Vihar and Pandav Nagar has again changed to accommodate Purvanchalis.
On Tuesday, Chadha (31) held a public meeting in Dasghara village, from where Tuseed hails. Shunning the outsider tag, which both BJP and Congress have been quick to pin on him, Chadha said the seat is far from new for him.
“This is not a new seat for me; it is my own seat. My family settled in Old Rajinder Nagar 65 years ago. My maternal grandmother lives in Naraina, I was born at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. I have played in the streets of Karol Bagh, Todapur and Naraina. How can I be an outsider?”
Chadha replaced sitting AAP MLA Vijender Garg to bag the ticket. He plans to bring seven area-specific manifestos for the constituency.
“In Rajinder Nagar, parking would be a big issue. In others, water quality and sanitation are major problems. I have divided the constituency into seven areas and zeroed down on specific problems,” he said. Chadha said his main competition is with the BJP since “the Congress is irrelevant in today’s time”.
Tuseed (25), born and brought up in Dasghara village, is a name people know in the area. The former DUSU president (2017-2018) was in the midst of a controversy when he was disqualified from the post in 2017 for not disclosing in his nomination form that disciplinary action had been taken against him for assaulting a student. In August 2018, he was reinstated after the Delhi High Court put on hold its single judge order.
“AAP has not done any work in the last five years. If we talk about the candidate, Raghav Chadha is an outsider. He doesn’t know this area and has come here on a picnic. In Lok Sabha polls, he contested and lost from South Delhi constituency. He doesn’t know the people living here and is not aware of their issues,” he said.
Singh, meanwhile, said: “I worked for the past five years despite not being an MLA of the area, and that is why the party showed faith in me. The biggest problem here is dirty water.”
(With inputs from Abhinav Rajput)
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