Rich Janakpuri, poor Janakpuri

Bungalows, parks big contrast to illegal colonies, power outages

A road divides the Janakpuri constituency into two parts which are in sharp contrast to each other. While most localities on one side of the road boasts about top-notch parks and designer colony gates, the other side struggles even for decent roads.

Heading to Uttam Nagar from Dhaula Kuan, the right side of the Pankha Road mostly consists of sprawling bungalows, gated DDA colonies and about a hundred parks.

Mainly comprising Janakpuri blocks, this part of the constituency is considered one of the most peaceful and safe residential areas of Delhi.

The left side, on the other hand, consists of unauthorised colonies such as Uttam Nagar, Sagarpur and Milap Nagar which resemble much poorer cousins of Janakpuri.

Voters, not surprisingly, are divided on whom they would choose this time.
Most voters Deccan Herald spoke to in the posh Janakpuri colonies attributed the development works to five-time BJP legislator from the area Jagdish Mukhi.


Mukhi, however, faces a strong challenge in AAP candidate Rajesh Rishi who had given the BJP veteran a run for his money in 2013.

Mukhi won by only a little over 2,500 votes, a significant change from the 10,000-20,000 margin in the previous four elections.

While Mukhi’s son-in-law Suresh Kumar jumping into the fray on a Congress ticket does seem interesting, few voters even don’t know his name so far.

It is the voters on the left side of the Pankha Road who are set to deliver the knocking punch. And most are either undecided or will go for the AAP candidate.

“My husband has asked me to vote for AAP. But I will vote for whichever candidate arrives at my doorstep and promises to cover the drain in front of my house,” says Raj Devi, a resident of Sagarpur that falls on the less fortunate side of the road. She is a maid in the posh localities of Janakpuri.

Bunty Sinha, a resident of Uttam Nagar, complains of water pools that make life “hell” during monsoon.

An IT professional, Bunty chose to rent accommodation in Uttam Nagar because of the high rent on the other side.

He wants to escape the chaos in his locality and move to Janakpuri, but the disparity in the rent is substantial for him to give it a serious thought.

Bunty will vote for a “change” this time, he says without revealing any further.
Meanwhile, not all Janakpuri residents are sated with the luxuries they receive.

They have desires that would mostly seem unthinkable for those on the other side of the road. “Apart from parks and a few shopping complexes which see little activity after 9 pm, there is little for entertainment in this part of Delhi,” says Amitesh Rattan, a resident of Janakpuri’s block C.

Another resident Harmeet Juneja points to the Dilli Haat in Janakpuri that sees much fewer shops, visitors and activity as compared to the older one in south Delhi’s INA. “May be, the government should come up with more corporate set-ups and colleges in this part of Delhi. That will liven up the region,” says Juneja.

But Juneja would still prefer the sense of security his gated colony provides him and credits Mukhi for the developments. “The power cuts in this area were unusually high last year, but I won’t judge Mukhi based on one season,” says Juneja.

AAP’s 49-day rule also has had a bearing on several voters who said they would vote for the party because corruption took a hit during the rule.

“I was paying the weekly hafta to the local policemen for running my food stall. The policemen suddenly stopped visiting me during AAP’s rule.

I was surprised and myself approached the policeman to ask if I had offended him,” says Rajat Manjhi, a pani poori seller in the constituency.

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