This place waits for shake-up by winning leader

Chock-a-bloc traffic, congested narrow lanes, overflowing sewer lines and open dumpsters are ready to welcome any visitor in the North-East constituency of Delhi. 

A majority of the population of this area lives in unauthorised colonies, slums, jhuggi jhopri clusters and resettlement colonies.

The Congress has fielded sitting MP J P Agarwal from the constituency, Bhojpuri movie star and singer Manoj Tiwari is in the fray on the Bharatiya Janata Party ticket and the Aam Aadmi Party has fielded former JNU professor Anand Kumar.

About 25 per cent of the voters in this area are Muslims which are generally considered to be loyal to Congress party. The Muslim dominated areas are Mustafabad, Seelampur, Babarpur and Seemapuri. However, the AAP is making a dent in the Congress’ reputation among its core voters by raising the issues of basic amenities.

In past 10 to 15 years, the migrant Purvanchali population have also marked their presence in the area. By year 2009, there were whopping 40 per cent voters from Purvanchal states. With an eye on this strong vote bank, the BJP has deployed Manoj Tiwari, who hails from Purvanchal.

Sitting MP and Congress candidate J P Agarwal, who had defeated BJP’s candidate Baikunth Lal Sharma Prem with massive 2,22,243 votes in last parliamentary election, claims that people will still choose Congress.

“A lot has to be done in this constituency. There are scores of unauthorised colonies in this area and the government should pay attention for the development of this constituency. People of Delhi have witnessed the extraordinary development in Delhi in past 15 years and I am confident that they will choose Congress over other parties,” he said.

However, the AAP, which has planned an area specific manifesto, is aiming to dethrone the Congress. 

“This area is one of the most backward areas of the city. If we rank this area on basic amenities, education, transport, health sector and sanitation, it will stand last as compared to other parts of the city. Residents of this area definitely need change,” a AAP member said.

Whatever the contestants say, the ground reality of this area has hardly changed in past 15 years. The government has failed to regularise all of the colonies and many of them doesn’t even have piped water and sewer lines. Many Muslim dominated areas are facing massive encroachment.

“The contestants must understand the need of the hour. This area needs a total revamp. The colonies need basic amenities and not tall promises. Youngsters need jobs and not fancy ideas,” said Mudassar Ali, a resident of Seelampur area.

The major trouble for Congress party is the unauthorised colonies. “They played politics on regularisation of unauthorised colonies. We can sell or buy flat. We do not have facilities like authorised colonies,” said Ramashankar Pandey, an autorickshaw driver and resident of Karawal Nagar area.

The BSP and other small parties have also fielded their candidates from the area making the fight more interesting.

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