Prez's daughter carries out padyatras, says chances better in some areas

Prez's daughter carries out padyatras, says chances better in some areas

Hitting the last lap of campaign trail on Thursday, the President’s daughter – Sharmistha Mukherjee carried out padyatras in Chirag Dilli, Zamrudpur and Shahpurjat.

The Greater Kailash seat attracted attention after the high-profile Congress candidate was fielded from the seat. Congress campaign chief Ajay Maken joined Mukherjee’s campaign trail on Thursday at Savitri Nagar and Chirag Dilli. This was seen as the party’s last effort to reclaim the lost voteshare in the constituency.

In the 2013 Assembly Elections, AAP candidate Saurabh Bhardwaj had defeated BJP’s Ajay Kumar Malhotra by a margin of 13,092 votes. Even Congress insiders admit the response to Mukherjee’s candidature has been “lukewarm” during campaigning. Mukherjee has been pitted against AAP’s Bhardwaj and BJP’s Rakesh Gullaiya this time.

With C R Park housing a sizeable Bengali population, the party was initially banking on a considerable number of votes from Bengalis. However, Mukherjee’s candidature failed to strike a chord with the Bengalis with voters calling her a “parachute candidate”.

“In CR Park, the response has improved than before. Initially, there was a sentiment issue working that I have not been visiting households here. My relatives also visited households during campaigning which also helped improve the response,” said Mukherjee speaking to Deccan Herald in CR Park at the campaign trail.

Mukherjee herself pointed out the weak areas of the Congress in the constituency – Sheikh Sarai and Khirki Extension.

The intensive campaigning and consistent padyatras in Chirag Dilli, Zamrudpur, Shahpurjat have improved the Congress’s chances in the constituency, feel party members. Volunteers who accompanied Mukherjee on the trail said the response from residents in these areas were “positive”.

“From what we have gathered, Shahpurjat, Chirag Dilli and Zamrudpur areas are likely to see positive response from voters,” said Mukherjee.

A dancer and an activist, Mukherjee is dabbling into politics actively for the first time. For residents in the constituency, Mukherjee is “not a familiar face”.

As Mukherjee stopped at CR Park Market 1 to visit a temple on Thursday in between her campaigning, traders were seen to come out of the market and greet her. Directing her volunteers to not park cars randomly adding to the traffic congestion, she stopped for a short while at the market. 

However, most of the shopkeepers ruled out a triangular contest in the constituency.
“The first meeting in the market was five days back. Top Congress leaders also came down here to campaign for Sharmistha (Mukherjee). She has highlighted a lot of issues which she would like to work on. But she is not a known face,” said Pradip, a shopkeeper here.

If elected, Mukherjee plans to deliver on women’s safety, upgradation of basic facilities in the constituency, ease traffic congestion and localised garbage disposal system. She also plans to maintain an annual report card that tracks the promises made by her.

For residents and office-goers, Thursday was a “colourful” day with a convoy of cars of each political party passing through the nodal areas in the constituency at intervals.

“Before the Congress flight of cars arrived, the BJP candidate was here canvassing for votes. It has been quite a colourful day for us. I have been taking breaks from work to come out and see the candidates,” said a woman, an employee of Allahabad Bank in C R Park.
Mukherjee’s campaign trail ended in Kalkaji DDA areas.

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