BJP has edge over others in Laxmi Nagar, AAP banks on Kejri appeal

BJP has edge over others in Laxmi Nagar, AAP banks on Kejri appeal

In December 2013, the Aam Aadmi Party had swept Laxmi Nagar, the first settlement that comes after one crosses the Yamuna. But history may not repeat itself in the February 7 Assembly elections.

Politics has come full circle as Vinod Kumar Binny, the then AAP candidate who had upstaged well-entrenched Congress leader Ashok Kumar Walia, has now crossed over to the BJP. Apparently unsure of his prospects, Binny has shifted to neighbouring Patparganj constituency.

In Laxmi Nagar, BJP appears to have an edge in what is an interesting three-way contest. A reluctant Walia has been forced by Congress to enter the electoral fray to take on B B Tyagi of BJP and Nitin Tyagi of AAP.

With 1.2 lakh voters, the constituency has a formidable Punjabi presence at 20 per cent; Poorvanchalis hailing from UP and Bihar constitute nearly 15 per cent of the population and Muslims 12 per cent.

One of the most thickly populated areas in the city, unregulated constructions and inadequate infrastructure are the major issues for residents of the constituency.

Doctor-turned-politician Walia, a four-term legislator, enjoys a lot of goodwill in the constituency, but the strong anti-incumbency sentiment during the 2013 elections had proved to be his nemesis.

Congress sources said Walia was keen to withdraw from the fray due to ill-health, but agreed to contest after being coaxed by the party.

BJP’s B B Tyagi, a former councillor, is considered to have a grip on the constituency. “I have not met him personally, but Tyagi has taken efforts to develop the constituency by getting us good roads,” said Priya Singh, a homemaker who stays in a house in one of the numerous narrow bylanes in the area.

“Waliaji’s ill-health has left Congress leaders worried as it may result in further erosion in the party’s support base,” said Zafar Ali, a small-time businessman in the constituency known for its cloth market.

AAP’s Nitin Tyagi, a close associate of party stalwart Manish Sisodia, is banking on the popularity of former chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to see him through.

“We have good roads, but sewerage is a big problem,” said Pradeep Singh, an aspiring civil servant, who attends one of the numerous IAS coaching classes in the area.
Singh is not a registered voter in the constituency.