Calling himself a local, Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) North East Delhi candidate Dilip Pandey believes people in the Lok Sabha elections will elect their own man who is aware of the area's ground reality -- and not "political stars".
The North East Delhi constituency -- formed in 2008 -- is going for its third general election on May 12.
The constituency has elected the two national parties in the last two elections. In 2009, when the Congress formed the government at the Centre, it voted for Jai Prakash Agarwal of the Congress. In 2014, under the Modi wave, BJP's Manoj Tiwari was elected.
Mr Pandey said the people living in the area have been exploited by both the big parties.
"The people have paid the price of electing big names from outside... The big stars are good when you look from outside, but when it comes to giving light to your house, a small 'diya' is good enough and the 'star' will not be of any use," he said speaking in Hindi.
He said the "big names" were unaware of the ground realities.
"How can someone who was never stuck in the jams in Waziarbad, Khajoori Chowk or Shastri Park understand what the people face everyday? Someone not having the ideas of Karawal Nagar issues and its roads can never solve the issues faced by the locals. When the big names are not even aware of the issues, how can we expect them to solve them?"
Calling himself a local, he added: "This time, the people have decided to elect a local -- who is well aware of the area -- to represent them in Parliament."
Asked about caste-based vote bank, he said Delhi's ruling AAP was loved by people, irrespective of caste or area.
"AAP has done a lot of work for the city and its people, irrespective of caste or area. The work done by AAP was not directed for a particular caste or section," he said.
Mr Pandey said the MP acts as a bridge between the central and the city governments. So the MP should be one who can act as a bridge.
An author, anti-corruption activist and IT expert, Mr Pandey jumped into politics from the India Against Corruption movement days.
Born and brought up in Zamania, a small tehsil in eastern Uttar Pradesh, Mr Pandey became the Convenor of the Delhi Unit of AAP and its national spokesperson in 2014. In 2015, the AAP won 67 out of 70 seats in the Delhi Assembly elections.
From a young age, he had started writing for local newspapers and magazines. He says he always fought over social issues and worked closely on matters which could potentially bring up the quality of life.
When India Against Corruption movement started, Mr Pandey was working in Hong Kong. His passion for his country brought him back to India.
Pointed out that he was pitted against rivals who were senior leaders from the BJP (Manoj Tiwari) and Congress (Sheila Dikshit), he said this time the people will vote for a change.
He said the purpose of this election was to defeat BJP and to show the doors to Tiwari, the MP.
"His (Tiwari's) arrogance will bring his end. He cannot ask for a single vote on his name, because he is aware that he has not done any work in the last five years and the people will not vote for him. He is using Modi's name. What is the point of taking big names? People want a representative who is approachable and accessible," he said.
Similarly, former Chief Minister Dikshit was no challenge, he said.
"The Congress is not in competition. Since our birth in politics (in 2012) Delhi saw four elections and in all four elections the Congress came third. In three elections the party lost its security deposit. Who will consider the party a challenge? The Congress is contesting here just to cut votes. I spoke to the locals, they are in no mood to waste their votes by voting for the Congress. We are the strongest here and so people will vote for us," Mr Pandey said.
Along with six other constituencies in Delhi, North East Delhi will go for polls on May 12.
Having an electoral strength of 22,90,492, the constituency is one of the most populated regions of Delhi.
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