Boxer, CA to take on BJP's Bidhuri in South Delhi

Bidhuri is banking on caste combinations to win but Congress too has fielded a celebrity in Singh, who is a Jat and has close connections with the Gandhi family.

Flashy shopping malls and plush farmhouses on one side and congested unauthorised colonies, vast rural land mass and slums on the other – the South Delhi constituency is a mix of urban suaveness and rural exuberance.

Will Olympian boxer Vijender Singh of Congress punch his way to victory or is it young chartered accountant and AAP national spokesperson Raghav Chadha's chance to trounce BJP's seasoned politician Ramesh Bidhuri, the sitting MP, in South Delhi seat?

With Jats and Gujjars along with Poorvanchalis, who hails from eastern UP and Bihar, making a large chunk of 20.67 lakh voters, the candidates are focussing on these groups to win the seat.

Last elections, Bidhuri, a Gujjar, has managed to win by a margin of 1.07 lakh against AAP's Devinder Sehrawat, who switched over to BJP last week. Congress' Ramesh Kumar, then a sitting MP and brother of controversial Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, was a distant third in 2014.

This time too, Bidhuri is banking on caste combinations to win but Congress too has fielded a celebrity in Singh, who is a Jat and has close connections with the Gandhi family.

Congress' calculation is that the South Delhi seat shares its boundary with Haryana's Jat localities and candidature of Singh, who belongs to Bhiwani in the neighbouring state, would have an echo among the Jats and Gujjars in the constituency.

Bidhuri is heavily banking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's charisma and the campaign plank of nationalism. Even in local meetings, Bidhuri slips into the rhetoric on nationalism and the strong actions India took against Pakistan.

He recalls Balakot air strike and reiterates Modi's claims on how he pressurised Pakistan after Pulwama terror strike. “Modi-ji is not the one who sleeps. He is always alert,” he tells those who gather in his campaign.

But Chadha, who has petitioned the court against his BJP rival for not mentioning an FIR against in his election affidavit believes this election is between Bidhuri and people of South Delhi. I don't have money power or muscle power or media power backing me. I personally feel, in order to get rid of goondaism, hooliganism and politics of fear, people will vote. People of South Delhi will win and Bidhuri will lose,” he told DH recently.

A chartered accountant by training, Chadha too echoes the same line as other AAP candidates when it comes to Congress candidates. He says Congress is “irrelevant” and he is in a direct fight with BJP, which he is sure of winning.

Singh, on his part, has effortlessly transformed into a politician from the boxer's gown meeting people, talking about local problems and promising that he will remain in the constituency for the next five years.

How much important he is for Congress is seen from Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi decided to hold a roadshow for him on Thursday.

 

2014 Elections
Ramesh Bidhuri (BJP) – 4.97 lakh
Col Devinder Sehrawat – 3.90 lakh
Ramesh Kumar (Congress) – 1.25 lakh
Margin – 1.07 lakh

2019 Elections
Voters – 20.67 lakh
Ramesh Bidhuri (BJP)
Vijender Singh (Congress)
Raghav Chadha (AAP)

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