New Delhi, Jan 28 (IANS) Durgesh Pathak of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) wants to develop the “very backward” Karawal Nagar constituency and promises to build a hospital and a school in the area, if elected.
Speaking to IANS, the AAP nominee for the February 8 Delhi Assembly polls blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the backwardness of the constituency.
“Karawal Nagar has been with the BJP for about 20 years, while the Congress was ruling the city state for most of the period. When we came to power in 2015, Kapil Mishra was with the party, only for 18 months, as later he joined the BJP,” said Pathak, the youngest member of the AAP political affairs committee, its highest decision-making body.
The BJP won the seat between 1993 and 2013. While the BJP’s Ram Pal was elected in 1993, Mohan Singh Bisht represented the seat in the Assembly in 1998, 2003, 2008 and 2013.
In 2015, AAP’s Kapil Mishra was elected. But he turned rebel and switched to the BJP. He was disqualified as an MLA in 2019.
While the BJP formed a government in 1993, the Congress ruled the state between 1998 and 2013. Since 2013, the AAP has been in the power, including its 49-day rule.
Stating that the area has been neglected and remained underdeveloped, Pathak said developing it was his topmost priority. “I would focus on building a hospital and a school in the area, and would ensure that parks, roads and sewer lines are improved,” he said.
“You will not find a big hospital or stadium or shopping complex or industrial hub in the area. If given a chance, I will try to bring the area into Delhi’s mainstream by developing it like other areas,” the AAP candidate said.
Pathak said only the AAP could give chance to contest election to someone who had been just a volunteer. “I have been with the party since 2011, have distributed pamphlets and conducted door-to-door campaigns as and when required.”
He came to Delhi from Sikohara village near Gorakhpur in UP to prepare for the civil services examination. “In 2011, I joined the Jan Lokpal movement as a volunteer. As the movement morphed into a political party, I became part of it.”
Pathak, in-charge of national organisation building for the party, played a major role in building strong grassroots for the party before the 2015 Delhi Assembly polls and in Punjab before the 2017 Assembly elections.
In the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections, he was in-charge of the organisation and campaign in 35 constituencies, and the party won 34 of them.
“I also went to Punjab to prepare the organisational setup in the run-up to the 2017 Assembly polls. In Punjab, the party received 24 per cent vote share and 20 seats on its debut,” he said.
Speaking about the challenges, he said bagging the seat was not so difficult as it elected the AAP with a huge margin in 2015 and had seen the BJP/Congress doing nothing in the past 20 years.
“Although people voted the BJP, it’s not a BJP stronghold. It won because the Congress has been weak here. Now the AAP is giving an alternative to people and they have seen our work in the last five years,” he said.
On the CAA and the NRC, he said it was not much visible on the ground in the area. “Those who are against them are protesting peacefully,” he said.
On his stance, Pathak said, “I stand with the party over the NRC and the CAA that we don’t need any such things right now, especially when the country is facing one of the worst economic slowdown and unemployment rates.
“It’s an effort to divide the society. As the BJP is going to get zero seats in Delhi, it’s doing this to distract people.”
Expressing the confidence that the AAP will win more than 67 seats in the 70-member Assembly, he said his seat would also be among them.
(Nivedita Singh can be contacted at [email protected])