‘If Obama can defeat McCain, why can’t I defeat Sheila?’

November 9th, 2008 - 2:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyNew Delhi, Nov 9 (IANS) He is 22 years younger to Delhi’s chief minister. But underdog Vijay Jolly, a well known face on the capital’s social and diplomatic circuit, is supremely confident of defeating Sheila Dikshit in the upcoming assembly elections. “If Obama can defeat McCain, why can’t I defeat Dikshit?” he asks. Like the rank African-American outsider from Chicago me who fought his way with sheer grit to grab ulimate power in Washington, Jolly, a former president of the students union in Delhi University, is a fighter to the core. So he agreed to take on the veteran Dikshit when his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) asked him to do so.

The BJP says it could not have found a better person for the not-so-easy task of trying to unseat Dikshit, a woman politician close to Congress president Sonia Gandhi who has ruled the Indian capital for 10 long years since 1998.

“Sheila Dikshit is living in a fool’s paradise. I am sure of winning against her. I will take the battle into her camp,” a confident Jolly, 48, told IANS in an interview.

Jolly, who presides over a successful business, has already hit the road for campaigning in the newly formed New Delhi assembly constituency. Aware that he would need to know the voters well since he won the last election in 2003 from Saket in south Delhi, Jolly is trudging from home to home in the area to introduce himself.

And the fact that he is walking with a limp because of a fracture in his leg has impressed quite a few voters.

Jolly rubs it in: “Sheila Dikshit rarely meets the electorate of her area. Her relatives used to meet people on her behalf. People are angry with her over this, and I will capitalise on this.

“My focus will be on the common problems faced by the people which she failed to resolve, such as water and electricity supply and the worsening law and order condition.”

Jolly has been in politics for 31 years, joining the BJP as a student.

Unlike most politicians who seek to project their frugal living even if they actually dont live that way, Jolly makes it a point to tell visitors that his wife Rashmi designs his clothes.

He is also an avid lover of watches, fountain pens and the SUVs. He has a collection of 18 watches, including Rado and Guess brands.

What will be his campaign strategy?

“Besides door-to-door campaigning, I will reach everyone’s bedrooms through the electronic media,” he says, speaking during his lunch at a luxury hotel in the heart of the capital.

He also plans to flood voters with SMS messages and campaign through social networking sites. His personal website is also expected to start in another week.

Has he hired a professional agency to oversee his campaign?

“I handle my campaign myself with the help of my friends, including MBAs and IIT engineers,” says Jolly.

Jolly has become the toast of the BJP since he agreed to challenge Dikshit in her own lair.

He says BJP strategist Arun Jaitley, party president Rajnath Singh and Delhi’s chief minster hopeful V.K. Malhotra convinced him that he should battle the chief minister.

“The final stamp came from (BJP leader L.K.) Advaniji who told me that I am a clear-cut winner,” Jolly added. “I am confident.”

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