North-West Delhi: Singer takes on two ex-MLAs

Congress Rajesh Lilothia, BJP's candidate Sufi singer Hansraj Hans and AAP's Gugan Singh.

It is not a glamour constituency but it has the highest number of voters in the national capital at 23.78 lakh voters and the lowest number of candidates fighting elections in any Delhi Lok Sabha seat this time.

The North-West Delhi constituency, reserved for Scheduled Castes, but has its glamour quotient in BJP's candidate Sufi singer Hansraj Hans, who is in engaged in an electoral battle with Congress Rajesh Lilothia and AAP's Gugan Singh, both former MLAs.

The seat is predominantly rural in nature and dotted by unauthorised colonies with a sizeable population of Dalits and Muslims. Both Congress and AAP are looking at Dalit and Muslim votes while their rival is hoping for a division of anti-BJP votes.

For Hans (57), who hails from Punjab's Jalandhar and had his political stints in Akali Dal and Congress previously, the battle is tough as he is pitted against seasoned local politicians and fighting the outsider tag.

The AAP too is not leaving a breathing space for the Sufi singer as they keep on targeting him by raking up reports in Pakistan media about his conversion to Islam, which he and his family had denied long back. It targets BJP saying it could not find a Dalit in Delhi worthy of fighting the seat.

The seat attracted some attention after the BJP denied ticket to its sitting MP Udit Raj, a Dalit leader who joined Congress after taking potshots at the saffron party, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah.

Raj's presence in the Congress camp as well as Gugan Singh's connections in BJP as a former party MLA could dent into Hans' votes. However, he is unleashing a high-voltage campaign by bringing in celebrities like Daler Mahendi.

The campaign theme Hans, who break into songs in the midst of his speeches to entertain voters, is centred around Modi while promising to build hospitals, easing traffic congestion, tackling drinking water problems and bring other infrastructure to the area.

Lilothia (54), a two-term MLA and presently a Delhi Congress Working President, hopes that Congress' 15-year-rule in the capital would propel him to victory and banks on “non-performance” of BJP and AAP.

A vocal opponent of alliance with AAP, he is not bothered about AAP cutting into anti-BJP votes, saying the Arvind Kejriwal-led party is not a force any more. He believes Dalits and Muslims are coming back to Congress.

However, AAP's Gugan Singh, who joined the party in 2017 after he was denied seat by BJP in a bypoll, is emphatic about his prospects. He believes AAP's performance, especially in education, power and water sectors, would help him sail through.

Candidates
Hansraj Hans (BJP)
Rajesh Lilothia (Congress)
Gugan Singh (AAP)

2014 Elections
Udit Raj (BJP) – 6.29 lakh votes
Rakhi Birla (AAP) – 5.23 lakh votes
Krishna Tirath (Congress) – 1.57 lakh votes
Margin – 1.06 lakh votes

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