Mainly due to the efforts of sitting MLA and Delhi Health Minister Dr AK Walia, Geeta Colony in east Delhi has emerged as a Congress bastion over the last 10 years. In the assembly polls, Walia will face the BJP's Naveen Kumar, a journalist.
"Walia has failed miserably in the constituency despite being a minister," alleges Kumar, citing a list of failed projects. He says the people of the area now want a positive change. "Being a mediaperson has helped and the people will vote for a change," he says.
Brushing aside Kumar's allegations, Walia cites the development work done by the Delhi government over the last five years and says that there is a pro-incumbency wave in the Capital. Asked about the constituency that he has represented since 1993, the minister says that the water problem is being solved, and community centres and a socio-cultural centre have been constructed.
Geeta Colony is dominated by Punjabis who comprise around half of the electorate. In 1993, Walia won the seat by around 3,000 votes. He, however, increased the margin to over 20,000 in the 1998 election, thanks to an anti-BJP wave due to the onion crisis.
The BJP challenger says that despite an increase in population, the government has failed to open any colleges in the area. He also cites the power problem and says that in the JJ colonies, the contractors of the Congress have "looted" the poor people. "A large number of widows reside here and no efforts have been made to make pension benefits available to them," Kumar says.
Walia, however, seems confident of a win. "He has no experience. One has to work at the grassroot level, get training and exposure in party work before contesting elections," Walia says about Kumar. He has a ready list of his achievements over the last 10 years — sewage system has been improved, pavements and footpaths have been constructed for the pedestrians, roads have been broadened and extended etc.
Naveen Kumar, on the other hand, feels that this "non-political face" is his biggest asset. "People are fed up with these traditional politicians and want a change," he says confidently.