Fierce contest looming in Sadar Bazar constituency

Fierce contest looming in Sadar Bazar constituency

The Sadar Bazar constituency had seen a tough fight between the Aam Aadmi Party, Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party in the 2013 Assembly elections when the top three positions were decided with a margin of less than 3,000 votes.

AAP’s Som Dutt Sharma had won the seat by a margin of 800 seats.
This time, Congress election campaign chief Ajay Maken will try his luck from the constituency.

It is home to the largest wholesale market in the capital and was a Congress stronghold from 1998 until Sharma won from the seat in 2013. Sharma has once again been fielded by AAP to repeat history.

It also falls under the Chandni Chowk Parliamentary constituency, which once happened to be a stronghold of Congress leader Kapil Sibal, which he lost to BJP’s Harsh Vardhan in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Hence, it will be interesting to see if BJP’s Praveen Jain gives a challenge to her opponents.

Locals, however, consider Sharma to be the strongest candidate. “We feel Sharma is not a politician, but a common man like us. Though Arvind Kejriwal is infamous for not visiting the constituency, Sharma has emerged to be different and one who wants to work for society,” said Ram Nath, who owns a shop near Sadar Bazar railway station.

On what they need from their political leader, locals said the area has not seen development despite being part of the capital.

“Governments have changed hands over the years, but development is still lagging behind here. It is one of the few areas where people still travel on horsecarts and don’t have access to any public transport bus service,” said Mahesh, a resident.

In their campaigns, political parties have targeted development as priority in their agendas for the constituency. If history is considered, Maken could be seen as a strong contender as he was an MLA for three consecutive terms from 1993 to 2008.

In 1993, Maken was one of only 14 winning candidates of the 70 fielded by Congress. In 1998, Maken had won by a margin of 20,000 votes and by a margin of 24,000 votes in 2003.

Maken said Congress is confident of victory in the elections as every election is a different one. “The biggest difference on its own is that in the previous elections, we were the ruling party. There was a double anti-incumbency in the 2013 Assembly elections,” Maken added.

He said that both AAP and BJP have been making tall promises, which have no basis. “People have seen these parties’ performance, people have seen the 49-day government of AAP, and the BJP’s seven-month government at the Centre,” Maken said.

Locals, however, told Deccan Herald that they have lost faith in Congress, while Sharma had been working on the ground level when he was the MLA. BJP’s Praveen Jain is also likely to gain from the campaign by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief ministerial candidate Kiran Bedi.

“We have seen Congress’ misrule and AAP can’t form government at the Centre. We will vote for BJP to get maximum advantage of Modi as PM,” said Surender Chouhan, a local.
DH News Service