I have been following AAP for a long time: Rajmohan

I have been following AAP for a long time: Rajmohan

The roadshows of the Aam Aadmi Party East Delhi candidate Rajmohan Gandhi are fast gaining acceptance in unorganised colonies and slums.

Some supporters climb up on his vehicle to garland him, while a few others hoist their kids so that they get a blessed touch of the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi.

The 78-year-old Gandhi’s resume handed out to people in the form of pamphlets lists out his scholarly credentials. He said his decision to take a plunge in politics came in February. “I had been following the AAP for a long time,” he said.  

He divides his time between India and the United States where he is a research professor at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Gandhi had earlier exited from the political scene after losing to the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1989. “I started at around 7 in the morning today,” he said.

At the entry points of East Angad Nagar slum, people were seen prepared to welcome him. Party supporters say that the response in JJ colonies has been good. “Please come from the left. Let’s not block the traffic,” he said to his supporters who were approaching him with garlands.  

Gandhi said the election would be fought on both local and national issues. “As far as East Delhi is concerned, infrastructure is an issue. But the main issues here are that of sewerage system, traffic congestion, water supply and sanitation,” he said. 

Gandhi said on his campaign trail he discovered that how the parks in several localities of East Delhi have turned into garbage bins.

“I visited over a dozen JJ colonies. These are enormous. Many people live in nice apartments. They don’t know that not very far from them are these thousands and thousands of people living in indescribable condition. Their address is next to Ganda Nala,” he said. 

“The Congress government which was in the state and BJP controlled municipality are to be blamed for this,” he said.

For him corruption and non-transparent political funding are key national issues.  Gandhi has campaigned in seven out of 10 Assembly constituencies in East Delhi. He supporters said he is also meeting professor and lawyer groups, resident welfare associations and business communities. “Delhi is home. I have lived here for long. I was born here,” he said expressing familiarity with the place.

His campaign run started at 7 am on Wednesday and breezed in and out of sleepy residential colonies of Nirman Vihar. “These are the people who could be reached through internet and social media,” quipped a supporter. 

AAP workers say that Gandhi is slowly finding acceptance amongst party volunteers. His candidature was earlier opposed because many accused him of being a ‘parachute candidate’.

“He has such a pleasant personality. Even those volunteers who resented his candidature, melt after meeting him,” said Himanshu, a party worker.

“The support has been heartwarming,” he said, rejecting the allegations that AAP’s volunteer base is eroding. AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal is expected to join Delhi nominees in the last leg of election.

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