Amritsar, March 25
It was the second political outing of medico-turned-politician Dr Ajay Gupta of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Riding on the undercurrent of the AAP tsunami, he toppled heavyweight Deputy Chief Minister OP Soni.
Having secured an unimpressive 7,171 votes in the 2017 Assembly elections and despite not being a recognisable face among electorates of his constituency, he pulled out a big surprise. Obviously, the entire credit goes to AAP. Soni, a five-time MLA, who seemed to be unchallenged in the constituency before the elections, found his flight cut short this time. Gupta, who had passed out as an MBBS graduate in 1983, has established himself as a successful entrepreneur as he owns and runs a hospital in the walled city, which, too, under the Central Assembly constituency falls.
Tough task lies ahead for Dr Gupta to meet expectations of the people of his constituency who come from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. Some villages also fall in the constituency in which a large proportion is urbanite. Hence, maintaining balance between the two will be of immense importance as their aspirations and necessities are different. Amid them, a good proportion of people from backward classes also reside whose needs are to be taken care of.
High unemployment, drug addiction, and rising poverty are three major challenges being faced by the residents in the constituency. These are, in turn, fueling inequality in society. Rampant encroachment by shopkeepers and plying of a high number of rehrees (carts) are two major problems. As it results in further congestion and narrow down of already serpentine and winding roads of the walled city. So traffic jams are frequent.
Dr Gupta asserts that he was aware of all problems afflicting his constituency and he would resolve them gradually. Mohalla clinics would be opened and infrastructure at primary health centers would be consolidated. These efforts would require hiring more men and women. Industrialists and entrepreneurs would be roped in for hiring people from the area. Employment would dissuade more people from taking to drugs.
Last but not least, sports will also figure in his scheme of things.
Dr Ajay Gupta, 61
Constituency: Amritsar Central
Votes polled: 87,205
Vote margin: 14,026
Vote percentage: 59.3
Defeated: OP Soni, Congress
Dr Ajay Gupta, who emerged victorious after toppling Congress heavyweight Deputy CM OP Soni in the Amritsar Central constituency, seeks to provide employment, improve medical care, education, pension to elderly, widows and physically challenged, besides eradicating the drug menace. His priority is to consolidate primary health centers in his constituencies and raise sports infrastructure to wean away youth from drugs.