Kejriwal's friend-turned-foe Mishra bids to win Model Town for BJP
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal may have made New Delhi and Education Minister Manish Sisodia, Patparganj the VIP constituencies, but the fight to watch out for in this Assembly elections will be Model Town.
Former AAP Minister and Kejriwal critic Kapil Mishra will take on two-time sitting AAP legislator Akhilesh Pati Tripathi.
Mishra, who co-founded the Youth for Justice -- an action group that led protests across Delhi during the Jessica Lal murder trial and later became part of the AAP, has been nominated by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Water Resource Minister in the Kejriwal cabinet, Mishra had accused him and Satyendra Jain of corruption.
From being a vocal critic of the Prime Minister, Mishra became Narendra Modi's ardent fan and also campaigned for BJP candidates in the 2019 polls that got him disqualified.
In August 2019, when Mishra joined the BJP, Delhi party chief Manoj Tiwari said he would "serve Delhi by following the policies of Modi and the philosophy of Deen Dayal Upadhyay and Syama Prasad Mookerjee."
Model Town, a relatively small constituency with 1,67,679 voters, is an affluent neighbourhood near Delhi University and is often referred to be the preferred location for the "traditional rich" of Delhi. Hudson Lines, Old Gupta Colony, Kalyan Vihar, Vijay Nagar, Gujranwala Town, Guru Tegh Bahadur Nagar and Delhi University surround the area.
AAP's Tripathi has been winning the seat with respectable margins. In 2015, he had almost double the vote garnered by BJP's Vivek Garg.
While much of Delhi seems to be cheering for the AAP, according to poll trackers, Tripathi is facing anti-incumbency in this seat and his public profile has taken a beating since riding the Kejriwal wave to the Assembly in 2015.
He has been accused of taking bribe for getting the government jobs. Last year, he was taken into custody for failing to comply with court summons and warrants in a 2013 rioting case.
For Mishra, this is not just about a seat but a platform to target someone whom he adored, but the friendship fell apart after doing social activism and politics together.
Of the issues, many voters allege that Tripathi failed to address the water crisis, a predominant issue in this area. Thus, when Tripathi launches his campaign with the AAP slogan "Acche bite 5 saal", he may find it tough to convince voters.
Mishra too may not find it easy in this battle of egos for both the BJP and the AAP. Model Town is also set to witness a high voltage campaign as top BJP and AAP leaders are likely to descend upon the constituency in the coming days.IANS