MLA eyes 'muhalla sabhas' in his ward

So much has changed for the 39-year-old Aam Aadmi Party MLA, Vinod Kumar Binny. Soon after registering a remarkable victory, his more than dozen supporters shouted at a victory march in Laxmi Nagar: “Jhadu pe button dabane k lia, dhanyavad, dhanyavad (For pressing button next to broom – AAP’s election symbol – thanks, thanks)!”

Binny left behind Congress bigwig Ashok Walia, who was a cabinet minister in Sheila Dixit’s government, with a margin of 7,752 votes. And he was in the fray of becoming a minister himself in the new AAP-led government.

His party, however, had other plans. Disappointed with his non-inclusion in the cabinet, this burly man walked out of a party meeting of senior leaders. However, a day later he was seen rubbishing allegations of possible rift.  “We thought people respect him (Walia) in our constituency,” said Sonu Bhati, 23, a Chartered Accountant student at Laxmi Nagar who took part in Binny’s victory march, explaining why his victory was impressive.

Binny was a municipal councillor from Khichri Pur which is not a part Laxmi Nagar constituency. His supporters say  he has been working in the constituency for the last six months. 

Binny identified water and sewage as the major issues in his constituency. He said that his policies and decisions are based on muhalla sabha (a public discussion and grievance forum). Even his party had featured him in a video on Swaraj (self-governance) where he talked about the muhalla sabas.

“When we started working in our constituency, we learnt that this place is a real mess,” said Bhati, explain that local residents were unhappy with their representative. “The CA students live in a deplorable condition. In Laxmi Nagar, landlords charge exorbitant rents.”

“We are planning to make a library for CA students. There is no library here,” said Binny, talking to supporters outside his office. 

He thinks that contesting ward elections is different not very different from Assembly elections. 

Expressing his understanding of inclusive politics, he said, “I used to organise muhalla sabhas in our ward. We will continue to do it here (in Laxmi Nagar) as well.”

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