Mohalla Clinics to Swachh Abhiyan: Vijender Singh opens offline campaign with online interaction

Astha Saxena
Congress's South Delhi candidate Vijender Singh at the Youth Congress office. (Express photo: Prem Nath Pandey)

Sitting in the front seat of his vehicle, boxer Vijender Singh took part in his first Facebook Live from the streets of Delhi on Wednesday, a day after filing his nomination from the South Delhi parliamentary constituency, where he is pitted against AAP's Raghav Chadha and BJP's Ramesh Bidhuri.

Visiting a mohalla clinic at Lado Sarai with the cameras rolling, the high-profile candidate took a dig at Aam Aadmi Party and the BJP in one go.

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Singh said he had gone to the mohalla clinic to get medicine for his party worker, who was having a headache, but found the health centre closed. "The condition of the clinic looks pathetic and the facility is closed. The door is locked and my friend needs medicine. AAP believes only in publicity, but nothing is done on the ground," he said during the Facebook Live session.

Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Singh talked about piles of garbage lying outside the clinic. "You can also see the Swachhta Bharat Abhiyan here with garbage littered around. The roads are so dirty. This is the condition of our constituency," he said, as he reached out to a commuter and asked him to vote for the Congress.

Congress's South Delhi candidate Vijender Singh at the Youth Congress office on Wednesday. (Express photo by Prem Nath Pandey)

Later in the day, Singh interacted with party leaders and workers from the area to understand what issues impacted them the most. The South Delhi constituency, which came into existence in 1966, has around 20 lakh voters.

The boxer has resigned from the post of a police officer in Haryana to join the party and contest.

Senior leaders in the party said Singh's first choice was to get a seat in Haryana due to his proximity with Congress state chief Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

The party was initially planning to field wrestler Sushil Kumar for the constituency, in a bid to woo Jat voters in the area. "Seats in Haryana were already finalised but Hooda ji suggested his (Vijender's) name for Delhi. The Haryana state chief was quite keen in adjusting him somewhere in the city," said a senior leader.

The initial list prepared by the party had Mahabal Mishra from West Delhi, while Sushil Kumar was being pushed for the South Delhi seat. "After Kumar failed to submit his resignation to the government and join the party, the message from the top leadership was passed on to Singh to get relieved from his official post. Everything happened at the last moment," said the leader.