Different campaign, same issues in Walled City

Different campaign, same issues in Walled City

Candidates rely on personal interaction to muster support

In tune with its ‘unique’ character, the municipal election fever in the Walled City too is different from other parts of Delhi.

The constituencies in Old City are not big and personal connect is of more importance. DH photos/Ashpreet sethi

Instead of campaigning with an army of supporters, candidates in Old Delhi area are concentrating more on their personal connect with the voters.

“The constituencies in the area are not very big. Most of the people know each other personally.

So  we are not required to roam around with mikes and loudspeakers. Here man-to-man interaction on street corners of the streets is of more importance,” said Syed Irafan Mir, the Congress candidate from Ballimaran.

The sentiment is shared by the BJP candidate from Turkman Gate, Mohammed Zulfikar Quraishi.

Shajahanabad being a commercial hub also contributes to the present election environment of the area.

“This area has traditionally been of mixed value. It comprises buildings and houses which are both commercial and residential units. The lanes and bylanes are bustling with people despite several shops being closed due to Mahavir Jayanti,” said Mohammad Irfaan, a garment shop owner in Turkman Gate.

 The only reminders that elections are just round the corner are the flags and banners of different parties erected outside the candidates’ election offices  as well as atop their houses.

Same issues

Unlike the mode of election campaign, the issues taken up by the candidates remain perpetual like most other parts of the capital: good roads, cleanliness, sewage, power, drinking water, encroachment and lack of schools and hospitals.

“It is a local body election, therefore the issues are also very local. Since the area is a commercial hub, all corners and streets are littered with garbage. Cleanliness is a major issue in the entire area apart from drinking water and sewage,” said Abdul Qadir Khan, a resident of Ballimaran. 

The locals were rueful of the condition of government hospitals and schools in the area, a point conceded by the candidates.

“Its an irony of the area that a majority of the electorate and most of the candidates are illiterate,” said Mohammed Zulfikar Quraishi,  BJP candidate from Turkman Gate.

Quraishi is a law graduate and he contends he has an advantage over his rivals on this count. 

Personality or party?

Most of the candidates in the area contend that personality and character of a candidate would be more decisive in the than the party they represent.

Imran Hussain, a young candidate in his thirties who is contesting on the ticket of Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal, claims he would emerge victorious from Ballimaran because he is contesting on popular demand.

“I have new plans to serve the people in the area. A round-the-clock phone service would be available for the residents in my area, who can get in touch with me directly regarding any issue they face,” said Imran. 

Similar is the case in Turkman Gate where 22-yr-old Aaley Mohammad Iqbal, son of local MLA Shoaib Iqbal, is top contender.

He is also contesting on the RLD ticket.  However, going by past results, the likes of Imran face an uphill task.

“Ever since the first election in 1952, it has happened only twice that a non-Congress candidate has won in the constituency,” said Shaikh Alimuddin Asadi, a resident.

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