A veteran of many political battles in Delhi, JP Aggarwal asserts that his nomination as the Congress candidate from Chandni Chowk was not a surprise for him.
In an exclusive interview with National Herald, the 76 year old Jai Prakash Aggarwal said he had started preparing for this battle for quite some time.
Asked about other names being mentioned for this seat, the smallest constituency of Delhi' s seven Lok Sabha seats, he said ," Yes, names are always mentioned but I knew I would be fighting from this constituency which I know like the back of my hand."
At a time when the use of the term ‘Modi’s Sena’ has generated such a huge controversy in these elections, very few people are aware that JP had brought a private member bill suggesting that political parties should be banned from using words like ‘Sena’ in their nomenclature because it would be an insult to the Army.
JP has won this seat four times for the Lok Sabha and has been a Rajya Sabha MP once. He has earlier defeated the BJP stalwarts like Sikander Bakht, BL Sharma Prem and BP Khandelwal in the elections and has been the president of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee more than once.
"Even while I was in Rajya Sabha, I never lost touch with my people in Chandni Chowk unlike my rival Dr Harshvardhan who could not bring a single project for Chandni Chowk even though he was handling two portfolios in the Modi cabinet," he alleges.
The former Deputy Mayor of Delhi and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the MCD says that both national and local issues would play an important role in the elections in Delhi.
"How can we forget that the ceiling drive, demonetisation and GST have broken the backbone of the trading class which dominates Chandni Chowk," says JP as he prepares to leave for campaigning in the excruciating heat of April.
Asked if he thought that the issues of Pulwama and the Balakot air strike would change the narrative of campaigning this time, he says, "Only a section of media is talking about these issues. And in any case, what has Modi achieved on the terror front? Don't we know that he has been a terrible failure on these issues. Almost every second day we hear how exchanges with terrorists at the border are taking a heavy toll of the lives of Indian soldiers and para military forces. We all know that a former CRPF man is the first person person who declared that he would contest against him in Varanasi. How can Modi become the symbol of nationalism and patriotism with such a dismal record," he asks.
Aggarwal says that the narrative has already shifted from ‘nationalism’ to the more important Modi issues of unemployment, price-rise, petrol prices and the atmosphere of hatred that has made life difficult for everyone in the last five years. It is only a section of media that does not want to see this but these are the issues on which people will decide who they will vote for.