Called ‘Jamuna paar (beyond Yamuna river)’ in common parlance, the East Delhi Lok Sabha Constituency is considered to be one of the least developed areas in the Capital.
The parliamentary seat will see a three-way fight with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) nominating Atishi, BJP fielding former cricketer Gautam Gambhir, and Congress putting forward former Delhi Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely.
The East Delhi constituency has 10 Assembly seats: Jangpura, Okhla, Trilokpuri, Kondli, Patparganj, Laxmi Nagar, Vishwas Nagar, Krishna Nagar, Gandhi Nagar and Shahdara. Except for Jangpura and Okhla, all other areas are on the east side of the Yamuna and hence is often called ‘Jamuna paar’.
In 2014, the BJP had won all the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi. BJP MP Maheish Giri had won East Delhi by a margin of 1.9 lakh votes, with AAP finishing second and Congress in the third position. In 2009 and 2004, Congress had bagged all the seven seats in Delhi.
In the 2015 Assembly election, AAP won with an overwhelming majority of 67 out of the 70 seats. This success, however, may not translate to a win in the general election as it has “different dynamics”, many opined.
AAP announced Atishi’s candidature on March 2 — over 45 days before the BJP and the Congress followed suit. The Kejriwal-led party has been campaigning in the area for a much longer time and hopes that the extra face time with voters will give it an advantage.
The BJP is relying on PM Modi’s popularity and Mr. Gambhir’s star value, while the Congress has launched attacks on both candidates by terming them “political tourists” and “outsiders” as they are not from East Delhi.
Large sections of AAP’s core voter base – economically backward and lower-middle income groups — still support the party in many areas.
Ms. Atishi has filed a criminal case against Mr. Gambhir alleging that he has two voter ID cards and urged people to not vote for someone who is going to be disqualified.
While Mr. Lovely said that the BJP is his main opponent, Ms. Atishi indirectly said that BJP was her main opponent by stating that Congress has been number three in the previous elections in Delhi.
With all three candidates taking out rallies and door-to-door campaigns, the election heat is picking up in East Delhi.