Constituency with Ghalib's home is Cong stronghold

Constituency with Ghalib's home is Cong stronghold

With a majority of voters being Muslims, Ballimaran constituency in the old quarters of the city has always been a Congress stronghold that has been the pocket borough of five-time MLA and former power minister Haroon Yusuf.

Known for the ancestral home of iconic Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib, the seat has been retained by Yusuf since 1993. However, this Assembly election might throw up a tough battle for him.
The area may witness an interesting contest with Bharatiya Janata Party’s Shyam Lal Morwal and Aam Aadmi Party’s Imraan Hussain, who contested his last Assembly election on the Bahujan Samaj Party’s ticket and ended on the third position.

One of the oldest colonies, Ballimaran’s traditional havelis and residential katras have now made way for large swathes of commercial zones typified by congested  wholesale markets bustling with shops and honking vehicles.

The narrow bylanes, non-functional street lights and hanging overhead power cables are the bane of the constituency.

Though roads are well-maintained, lack of parking space and poor condition of most of the buildings are other major problems in the area.

A section of locals accused Yusuf of being “inaccessible” and blamed him for most of the problems in the area.

“He stays in his bungalow and is rarely accessible to the people. The major problem here has been scarcity of water. Although the work is still incomplete, his posters have come up claiming credit for solving water problem of the area,” said Suzan Ahmad, a resident.

Pointing to the hanging power cables, another resident Rehmat Ullah, said “Yusuf had on so many occasionsassured that the wires will be put underground but nothing has been done so far.”

He added: “Shools and hospitals in the area are in bad shape and despite repeated requests nothing has been done to improve their condition.”

When asked, Yusuf claimed that a lot of developmental works have been carried out in the area in the last five years and exuded confidence of his victory in the February 7 election.

“I am confident of my victory as I have nurtured this constituency and voters in the area know me personally,” said Yusuf, while campaigning near Lal Kuan road on Wednesday.
The constituency has a total of 1,28,946 voters,  out of these 56,980 are women.

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