To say that Ashok Kumar Chauhan has had an interesting life would be an understatement. He was born in Dakshinpuri, a colony riddled with civic problems. Well-known as a cricketer in the locality, he was forced to give up his education and start working, because his father, who worked as a cook at the American Embassy, could no longer single-handedly support the family.
“With three children in school and one in college, our expenses slowly exceeded my father’s income and I had to step in and help the family,” recalls Chauhan.
After failing to join Delhi Police via sports quota, Chauhan spent seven years in Kuwait. He worked as a clerk for Kuwait Airlines and later dabbled in the transport and property business in a bid to provide financial stability to his family.
“I never thought about joining politics,” he says. “When I was young, being a known local cricketer, political parties would often ask me to be a part of their campaign. It was only later that I started to understand politics. I know the problems of this area inside out. Politicians make promises but nothing happens. I want to work with the people and not just make promises, but help deliver change.”
As the India Against Corruption movement made headlines, Chauhan saw hope in Arvind Kejriwal’s vision and joined AAP. “I have seen what happens during elections… how money is spent and alcohol is distributed,” he says. “I never thought an election could be won without money and muscle power.”
With fixed and movable assets worth Rs 13,35,091, Chauhan came up against the Congress’ Chaudhary Prem Singh, whose name features in the Limca Book of Records for winning 10 consecutive elections (MCD and Assembly) from the same seat — Ambedkar Nagar. But it was Chauhan who made history.
“When I think about it now, I’m surprised that we were able to win without money power and just on the basis of the issues we raised,” he says. “But I think more than me, Chaudhary Prem Singh must be surprised that the young man who asked him to build a playground (which he didn’t) has now won.”