• Sridhar Kumaraswami, PTI, New Delhi
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  • Updated: Nov 28, 2003 14:04 IST

Old rivals Satprakash Rana of the BJP and Vijay Singh Lochav of the Congress will contest for the Mahipalpur assembly seat. Rana had defeated Lochav in 1993. None of them had contested last time, in 1998. At that time, the BJP gave the seat to the INLD while the Congress gave the ticket to Mahendra Singh Bhattewala, who won.

The two have come face to face once again as Lochav has got the Congress ticket and there is no alliance between the BJP and INLD.

Jat-dominated Mahipalpur in southwest Delhi is largely rural and comprises several villages. Vasant Kunj makes up the urban part of the constituency which also has several slum clusters. Both Rana and Lochav are Jats.

The area, however, is not very hot on civic amenities. Most of the roads are in bad states of repair with open drains running alongside and piles of cowdung covering the narrow lanes. An acute water shortage is another problem that plagues the entire constituency.

Rana is known in the constituency for his accessibility. Belonging to Bijwasan village, he now lives in Vasant Kunj and is preserving his links with both the rural and urban parts of his constituency. He claims to have improved roads and sanitation facilities during his tenure as an MLA from 1993 to 1998 but says that nothing much has been done over the last five years.

Lochav is in a somewhat difficult situation. The dismal condition of civic amenities in the area is being blamed on the Congress. While not wanting to comment on the sitting Congress MLA's work, he says: "In 1993 things were different, but this time I will win."

Both candidates say that they will improve sanitation facilities in the area and tackle the water problem. Though both Rana and Lochav have a rural background, they are educated and articulate — a factor that will stand them in good stead not just in the villages but also in the urban upper-middle class Vasant Kunj colony which accounts for a significant chunk of the votes.

The INLD and the BSP have fielded their own candidates but both the Congress and BJP are downplaying this factor.

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