“Development (of Ghaziabad) will be our only election plank,” Ilmi told IANS soon after the Aam Aadmi Party declared the former journalist as its candidate in Ghaziabad.
“No caste, no creed and no other lucrative slogans,” she said. “Our mantra will be development.”
Ghaziabad is widely seen as the working hub of the AAP. Party leader Arvind Kejriwal lived in Ghaziabad when he became Delhi’s chief minister and ruled the capital for 49 days before quitting Feb 14 over the Jan Lokpal bill.
The AAP headquarters is located here, and there is hardly anyone in Ghaziabad who is not familiar with names of AAP leaders such as Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia, Kumar Vishwas and Sanjay Singh.
Ilmi, who narrowly lost the Delhi assembly election to the Bharatiya Janata Party, is also a familiar face here thanks in part to her journalistic past.
Sisodia said it was the AAP government in Delhi which approved the extension of Delhi Metro from Dilshad Garden in east Delhi to the New Bus Stand in Ghaziabad.
“We are shocked to see the Samajwadi Party and the BJP president (Rajnath Singh) putting up banners claiming credit for this work,” he said. A master in mass communication, Ilmi was a journalist with Zee News and Star News when she decided to plunge into politics. She became associated with Kejriwal and later joined the AAP.
She had wanted to contest the Lok Sabha election from Rae Bareli or Kanpur or even from Mumbai. But the AAP fielded her in Ghaziabad.
Is she not an outsider to Ghaziabad?
No, she says, adding there would be no difficulty in commuting between Ghaziabad and Delhi.
BJP president Ranjnath Singh was elected to the Lok Sabha from Ghaziabad in 2009. But he has decided to contest this time from Lucknow and has been accused by locals of not doing enough for this constituency which has become an important satellite city of Delhi.