Lekhi sure of win, Maken hopes upset, Goyal surprise

Lekhi sure of win, Maken hopes upset, Goyal surprise

Congress' Ajay Maken, Meenakshi Lekhi (BJP) and AAP's Brijesh Goyal

Sucheta Kripalini, Balraj Madhok, A B Vajpayee, L K Advani and Rajesh Khanna – the New Delhi Lok Sabha constituency had its share of stalwarts and celebrities as its MP and always the fight in this high profile seat has attracted national attention.

This time too all eyes are on the constituency as BJP's sitting MP Meenakshi Lekhi (51) is locked in a tight contest with Congress' Ajay Maken (54), who won in 2004 and 2009 from the seat and relegated to third position last time, and AAP's debutant fighter Brijesh Goyal (43), who head the party's trade wing.

As usual, all the three candidates exude confidence that they are winning but Congress and BJP with seasoned politicians as its candidates believe the AAP's nominee is a political novice and is at a distant third. AAP, on its part, brushes aside such formulations and ask naysayers to wait for the results.

Lekhi, a BJP national spokesperson and who recently sued Congress president Rahul Gandhi on linking his 'Chowkidar Chor Hai' campaign with Supreme Court, had not found her name in the first list of BJP candidates.

There was speculation that she may have to give way for cricketer Gautam Gambhir, who was inducted into the party in March, but both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah brushed aside demands for her replacement. A section in Delhi BJP too was not keen on fielding her again and some believe this would be an advantage for Maken.

Leaving nothing to chance, Lekhi is crisscrossing the constituency highlighting her achievements in the past five years. She also does not forget to bring in Modi in her campaign speeches.

Lekhi will have to assuage the feelings of traders affected by sealing of commercial establishments and the anger of bureaucracy, which is unhappy with the anomalies in the Seventh Pay Commission. She is confident traders and bureaucracy would vote for a “strong leader” like Modi.

This specific constituency is what Maken and Goyal too target. Maken, who had a victory margin of 1.87 lakh votes in 2009 but could garner only 1.82 lakh votes last time to finish third, highlights his efforts to stop sealing when he was an MP and Union Minister.

Maken said both BJP at the Centre and AAP at the state did very little to stop sealing when it re-started in 2017. He also tries to woo the officers and lower level bureaucracy, assuring them he would fight for their rights.

However, like Lekhi, Maken also could face internal sabotage due to the faultlines in Delhi Congress.

Goyal, who runs a motor spare parts business, is banking on AAP government's achievements and his links with the trading community. He knows his limitations that many voters may not recognise him on streets like Maken or Lekhi but is sure that Kejriwal's name would help him win votes.

He is highlighting how a full statehood for Delhi could change the face of the capital, especially for traders.

Fingers crossed till May 23, that's what all the three candidates say in private.

2019 Candidates
Meenakshi Lekhi (BJP)
Ajay Maken (Congress)
Brijesh Goyal (AAP)

2014 Results
Meenakshi Lekhi (BJP) – 4.53 lakh votes
Ashish Khetan (AAP) – 2.90 lakh votes
Ajay Maken (Congress – 1.82 lakh votes
Margin c-- 1.62 lakh votes