Parties use development card to woo electorate

Last Updated 03 April 2014, 20:38 IST

North-West Delhi, the city’s largest constituency with over 20 lakh voters and a large rural base, is set to see a triangular electoral fight like most other seats – among the three major players namely BJP, Congress and AAP.

With six independents entering the political fray, the competition is likely to become stiffer in the city’s only reserved constituency.

The constituency comprises areas such as Narela, Mundka, Nangloi Jat, Badli, Kirari, Mangolpuri and Rohini, among others. Redevelopment of unauthorised colonies, poor condition of roads, water shortage and poor teacher-student ratio in schools are the major issues of the constituency.

After the implementation of the delimitation exercise in 2008, North-West Delhi was declared a reserved constituency.

Nearly 42 per cent of voters here are Scheduled Castes and Other Backward Classes. Twelve per cent of the voters are Jats, which also makes them a dominant section in this constituency. For most candidates, development of rural North-West Delhi is the key highlight to woo voters.

Udit Raj, BJP’s candidate from the constituency, said it will be a one-sided win for the party.

“Caste alone cannot be a determining factor for people to vote. Voters are aware that only the BJP can relieve them of the pitiable state that they have been living in for years now. While the Congress candidate has not even shown her face to voters after winning the elections in 2009, I am in the party only to work for people,” said the well-known Dalit activist.

“Once the BJP wins, we will ensure that water is no more a scarcity in the area. Also, we will immediately revamp the educational set-up.”

The Congress has fielded Krishna Tirath, who defeated BJP’s Meena Kanwaria by a margin of 1.8 lakh votes in 2009. Terming North-West Delhi as “Tirath’s constituency”, Congress calls Raj “a weak candidate”.

Sanjay Faizavadi, a resident of Rohini, said, “Tirath is not a familiar face in the constituency.” “Our entire family used to vote for the BJP. Recently, our allegiance shifted to the AAP. It looks like Rakhi Birla is the only hope now,” the businessman added.

Rakhi Birla of the AAP had upset the 2013 Delhi Assembly elections results by defeating four-time Congress MLA Raj Kumar Chauhan. The former journalist is likely to turn the battle more fierce as she is also the face of the Balmiki community.

According to Om Prakash Poddar, a resident of Budh Vihar, neither BJP nor AAP can make a difference. “My house has been demolished thrice in the past. But nothing has been done till date to redevelop the unauthorised colonies,” said Poddar. “No leader cares for the people in jhuggis,” said the 64-year-old security guard.

A leader from Bahujan Samaj Party, which fielded Basant Panwar as the candidate, said neither BJP nor Congress has the ability “to reach out to voters”. “The BSP will bag a considerable number of votes this time. Most voters, who were relying on AAP, too have lost faith in them,” the leader said.

Asankhya Samaj Party’s Inder Singh wants to improve the conditions of workers in the unorganised sector. “I will ensure that the government gives a lakh’s insurance to every labourer.”

Independent candidates from the constituency see themselves as the “only hope for development”.

Kamini Kaur, a resident of Rohini, said, “All the parties are the same. I see myself as the only candidate who can improve the condition of bijli, paani here.”

Another independent candidate, Shailender Kumar, lost faith in parties and their “hollow promises”.

“I will ensure development of unauthorised colonies and improvement of teacher-student ratio if I win,” the 35-year-old said.

(Published 03 April 2014, 20:38 IST)

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